Alighieri And Corruption In Dante's Inferno

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During the time of Dante Alighieri, the Catholic church was at the height of its political involvement, and according to Alighieri, at the height of corruption due to Pope Boniface. Alighieri, being the poetic genius of his time, was unafraid to voice his opinions and commentaries of the church and state of his home region of Florentine. Especially after being sent into exile, Alighieri began to record his perception of his beloved Catholic faith, openly criticizing Boniface and weaving in his differing views while still maintaining respect and showing loyalty to the dominant religion. From this spawned the Inferno, Alighieri’s depiction of the internal conflict between his views and those of Catholicism. Although constantly remaining a devout…show more content…
Described as not being in the first circle, but at the gate of hell; the Opportunists are rid even of the title of actually being in Hell so no other sinners may feel superior to them. Alighieri’s choice to place them outside of hell infers that the sin itself is not so severe, but this notion is quickly contradicted by Dante’s severe reaction to the first sin he encounters. Dante recognizes Pope Celestine V among the sinners, saying “I recognized the shadow of that soul who, in his cowardice, made the Great Denial. At once I understood for certain: these were of that retrograde and faithless crew hateful to God and to His enemies.”(III 56-60). Dante’s connection of the opportunists to Pope Celestine V and the Great Denial alludes to when Boniface coerced the Pope out of office, to which he assumed, bringing forth what Alighieri believes to be the root of all corruption in the catholic church. In this first interaction and throughout the Inferno, Boniface is used to represent Alighieri’s contempt for corruption of the church and overall hatred for this particular sin. Dante’s depiction of the sinners, the “retrograde and faithless crew hateful to God and His enemies”, also display his resentment for…show more content…
Dante’s primary reaction to the Heretics is fear, which is contrary to the expected, especially after his relentless treatment of Filippo Argenti, one of the Wrathful, just one Circle before the Heretics. He explains this fear: “My face had paled to a mask of cowardice when I saw my guide turn back. The sight of it the sooner brought the color back to his” (IX 1-3) As the first sin in Lower hell, it can be reasonably assumed that Dante is beginning to learn to truly hate sin, evident in his treatment of Filippo. But the instant terror washed over him at the sight of the Heretics contradicts what should be expected. Dante mentions that Virgil is also frightened, meaning Alighieri thinks it is reasonable for Dante to fear the Heretics. Alighieri depicts Dante’s reaction similarly to how any human would react, and not the fearless, sin hating Catholic that Dante should be at this point in

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