Gender Roles In Dante's Inferno

1440 Words6 Pages
Feminism Throughout Dante’s ‘Inferno’ Medieval Europe, was not the idea place for a woman. They were often surrounded by mystery and misunderstanding. Often portrayed as lessor than man, manipulative and in some cases, evil. However they did have a place in Medieval Literature, or at least according to Dante Alighieri. Dante’s poem ‘Inferno’ has several female characters spread throughout its cantos, to include Beatrice, Lucia and Mary. None of which are revealed as sinners in the ‘Inferno’, but with great power never the less. Medieval literature often portrayed women characters as inferior to the men of the time. Women stayed home and cared for their husbands and family having little to do with any kind of political issues or community.…show more content…
Lucia, a woman who is described as “pure” and “moral,” was the first to summon Beatrice to the aid of Dante. (Parker, n.d.). Lucia is referred to as the “foe of everyday cruelty,” and represents the “divine light” (2:100). It is thought that Mary informed Lucia of Dante’s journey through the Inferno. Mary was so moved by Dante’s journey she called out to Lucia for her assistance in helping him. “Your faithful follower now has need of you: I give him over to your loving care” (2:94-96). Although her role is great in the poem she is mentioned only a few times. It is said that Dante had a “special devotion for her” or a devotion to the “light of Truth” she represents (Esolen). Lucia’s role is to guide Dante through Purgatory. Robert Harrison, a professor of Italian Literature at Stanford University calls Lucia’s a “reinforcement” of Virgil’s attempt to show Dante his true courage (Harriosn, 2012). Lucia’s role is often thought of as a guidance for Virgil. Lucia was portrayed as having great strength as well as she carried Dante out of Purgatory. Lucia came to Virgil and said to him “I am Lucia. Allow me to take this man, still sleep, so I may speed him on his way above”…show more content…
He used several of the women of that time period in the ‘Inferno’ as well. Although some were in Hell for reasons that were not as wholesome or moral they two were betrayed as beautiful. Their roles are surrounded by love and lust, to which they were sent into the inferno for. Francesca da Rimini an adulteress who must forever “weather the storms” for her sins. (Editors, 2012). Her punishment of constant storms and winds, fitting for the crime of lust and love, that she found herself carried away with. She is never to find true peace in the second circle of hell. After Dante encounters Francesca, he is so over whelmed by pity for her situation he faints. Dante is moved with “pity” for Francesca’s “pain” as he tells her his heart is broken for her (5:116) Dante is heartbroken for Francesca and through “compassion” fainted (5:135). Dante crosses into the eight circle of Hell and finds Thais, who was sent to the hell for “returning false answers” when asked questions by her husband (Editors, 2012). Dante tells of her eternal suffering buried in “excrement” as punishment for her lies (Editors, 2012). Thais was untruthful with her husband, which lead to her placement in the Inferno. Tiresias is also a woman in the eight circle of hell for actions. Due to her sin of transfiguration from a man into a woman she is forever forced to wear her “head on backwards.” (Editors, 2012).

    More about Gender Roles In Dante's Inferno

      Open Document