Cannibalism In Dante's Inferno

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Dante’s Inferno Discussion The group of sinners in Circle Nine according to Dante consists of traitors to their kin in the first ring Caina; traitors to their Homeland or Party in the second ring Antenora; traitors to guests in Ptolomea; and traitors to lords in the fourth ring Judecca. Sinners in this circle committed the sin of treason by killing others for superficial reasons such as political power. One of the most grisly scenes in Dante’s Inferno occurs when Dante describes Ugolino eating Ruggieri’s head like a dog that gnaws on a bone with its strong teeth (Dante 32.124-32). Ugolino proffers a long soliloquy, probably the longest monologue made by a member of the damned. This unforgettable story represents Dante’s final dramatic rendering in his inferno of the capacity for cruelty and evil by…show more content…
This poignant scene of cannibalism in hell—Ugolino eats his dead sons—is potent because the speaker himself does not make any attempt to exonerate himself of political treachery, the crime he committed to become damned to eternal hell. Rather, Ugolino deflects by defaming his foe in order to elicit compassion from the readers by articulating in detail the cruel manner in which his innocent children and he were murdered. Ugolino was damned to Antenora, the ring where political traitors were sent, because he betrayed Pisa and the political leadership a litany of times. Dante only specifies the particular traitorous act that resulted in the downfall of Ugolino: Ugolino ceded Pisan castles to Lucca and Florence in 1285 in an effort to appease the military forces and Pisan ghibellines that had turned hostile in Tuscany (Dante 33.85-86). Ugolino took advantage of ghibelline fortunes in Tuscany

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