The Journey of Dante to Hell in Dante Alighieri's Inferno

Inferno is the first part of the three part, 14th-century epic The Divine Comedyi Written by the great and talented Italian poet Dante degli Alighieri, The Divine Comedy signifies the beginning of Italian literature because it was one of the first works to be written in vernacularl For this reason, Dante inadvertently contributed to the creation of the modern Italian language during the Middle Ages.

Because of this and its emphasis on divinity, salvation, and other Christian themes that were typical of the later era, it is widely considered to be the single most important work of the Middle Ages. The epic is as entertaining as it is important, and it follows the great poet on his journey through Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven, but on a deeper level, it represents the human experience through the use of symbolism, archetypes, and allusion. As the first third of Dante’s Divine Comedy, Inferno follows Dante‘s journey through Hell.

In Canto XV, Dante takes his readers through the second zone of the third ring of the seventh circle of Hell.

This area of Hell is reserved for those that commit acts of violence against naturet Dante start this Canto as he walks by one of the rivers in Hell, the Phlegethon, The mist from the dark river protects Dante from the rain of fire that fills the area. Among the people who are walking in the rain is Dante’s old mentor, an Italian philosopher, scholar, and politician named Brunetto Latini Dante tries to convince Latini to stop and talk to him, but if he stops, he will be held there for an additional one hundred years in the rain of fire.

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Instead, he walks next to Dante as he makes his way down the side of the river‘s bank. Dante tells Latini of his journey in Hell so far and tells him about how Virgil has been his guide through the different levels Latini tells Dante of the people of Fesole, who are an “ungrateful and malignant race” that do not appreciate the true genius of the two scholars’ works.

Dante praises Latini for teaching him so much, including the simple truth than the only way man can become immortal is through his art and literature’s success Latini reveals to Dante that there are three other people with him that Dante knows: Bishop Andrea dei Mozzi, Francesco d’Accorso, and Priscian. They say their goodbyes, but before Latini leaves Dante, he asks that he honor his poem called the Tesoro. As Latini leaves, he does so in a manner that is so fast, Dante compares him to the winner of a foot race in Veronat The way that Brunetto Latini talks about the people of Fiesole is a reflection of the political climate of the city states and the Roman Empire at the time, Fiesole was a small commune just outside of the walls of Florence. It is most notably known for being the place where Catiline took his last stand. Catiline was a Roman Senator that attempted to overthrow Caesar on a few occasions.

When Caesar had his armies trap Catiline in the city of Fiesole, the city was destroyed and a new town was built in its ruins. The new city that sprung from the ruins was divided, The populace’s commoners were descendants of the people of Fiesole, and the nobility was the descendants of primarily Roman soldiersr Because of this division, Florence often saw political unrest between the groups and was subject to much criticism from Dante and his associates. in retaliation to Dante‘s harsh criticisms, the Fiesoleans strongly opposed him. Dante was very egotistical and interpreted this as jealousy, as he shows through Brunetto Latini’s dialogue. Latini says in Canto XV, “Your fate prophesizes such honour for you, that both parties will hunger for you, but the goat will be far from the grass”.

He then goes on to compare the people to manure that may be too foul for a plant to even grow in. Dante’s Inferno is one of the most important pieces of his epic, the Divine Comedy He uses the literary elements of symbolism, archetypal characters, and allusion in order to critique humanity as a whole as he travels through Hell. One group that he targets specifically are the people of Fiesole, a divided group of people who Dante and his colleagues do not have a great relationship with. Dante often criticized these people in his writings, but Canto XV dedicates a large portion of the text towards direct criticism of the people, comparing them to manure and calling them an “ungrateful and malignant racei” Dante’s work often served as criticism, but Canto XV exemplifies this like no other.

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The Journey of Dante to Hell in Dante Alighieri's Inferno. (2022, Dec 11). Retrieved from

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