Dante's Inferno Research Paper

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The Divine Comedy possesses a plethora of pagan characters, false gods and goddesses, and religious ideas not practiced by the Catholic Church. Dante confuses his readers by referencing paganism frequently throughout the poem. By intrepidly using pagan religion in his poem, Dante appears to desire to display homage for the excellent writers before him. Readers also claim that Dante accepts portions of paganism as partially true teachings. However, with further inquiry, it becomes evident that Dante rejects the teachings of paganism, but he merely respects the culture that was ushered forth from the outstanding literature that was written during the time period before Christianity. Dante references multiple stories from Greek and Roman literature.…show more content…
While passing into the ninth ring of Hell, Dante needs a giant to aid him. Virgil tells Antaeus, a lion slaying giant who Hercules crushed to death. An interesting aspect of the interaction between Virgil and the giant is the enticement that Virgil uses. He tells Antaeus that if he aids Dante and Virgil in reaching the next circle of Hell, then Dante will spread his name in the world brining him fame (31.127-32). It appears strange that Dante would write about characters who are dead yet still desire fame; however Dante chooses to this reoccurring theme for a reason. Dante displays the vainness of those in Hell. The people in Hell hold onto the last bit of life they contain. By remaining acknowledged on earth the sinners can maintain relevance. Fame fails to effect ones status in Hell; people are treated badly no matter how famous they became. Dante exploits the vain behavior of these fame seekers, and reveals the hopelessness of their situation. No matter how much fame they acquire, the denizens of Hell will never reach any salvation. Stressing that fame will never aid those in Hell, Dante displays his disdain for those in the underworld, many of whom are pagans. While these pagans are important to Greek and Roman literature, Dante assuredly knows that they fail to earn the respect that good Christians should receive once in

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