Dante's Inferno: Authoritative Advisor

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Dante: The Absurdly Authoritative Advisor Say Las Vegas has just gotten a new mayor - one that claims to reduce crime dramatically. The plan? Punish everyone, no matter how mild the crime, even if it is just taking a Snickers bar from the snack counters near the checkout of a Target without paying. Sounds crazy, right? Well, someone go tell that to Dante Alighieri, the protagonist of Inferno by Dante Alighieri. The poet believes that by punishing someone for committing a crime - as in, actual physical punishment - a person can conform to society’s standards; or, at the very least, what Dante believes to be standards, for everything centers around him. In fact, things center around Dante so much, that every idea he has seems to be golden to…show more content…
In Inferno, Dante the Pilgrim finds a former valiant leader of his political party, the Guelphs, Guido Guerra, in the seventh circle of hell among the sodomites. Dante acknowledges his existence - he does not talk to him, however - and says about Guido that he “won great fame in counsel and war.” (Alighieri 127). It is evident that Dante holds a fair amount of respect for Guerra, so it might be surprising to the reader that he, of all people, ended up here. However, Dante the Poet intentionally placed this powerful political figure in the seventh circle of Hell instead of placing him in Purgatory, simply because he committed a few acts of sodomy. The reason Dante does this is thanks to his bias toward people who do not follow his doctrines. Even with this statement, however, it can be argued that since Guerra did commit horrible sexual blunders during his time on Earth, he deserves to be in Hell. Now, that would be a fair argument for Dante to make, had he been one of many authors to bring up the fact that Guerra was a sodomite in his work. However, there is something interesting to note about Dante and his mentioning of Guerra: according to the notes at the end of Canto 16, Dante was at his time “the only writer to label [Guerra] a sodomite.” (Alighieri 131). So, Dante the Poet stuck Guerra in Hell for committing acts of adultery, thus making Guido Guerra an alleged sinner, though there is no evidence or even mention of Guerra being a sinner in any other works of Dante’s time. Through this, we can assume that Dante had some kind of disapproval for Guerra that stepped outside of a simple supposed sex slip up. Dante did not back Guerra’s lifestyle in some way or

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