How Is Imagery Used In Dante's Inferno

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The portrayal of hell described by Dante in Inferno is an unequivocal masterpiece of imagery that is filled with an extensive use of figurative language and concrete physical descriptions. Through each realm of the underworld, Dante’s use of imagery is made prominent through his descriptions of the sinner’s lives in Hell and the environment they are located in, but perhaps the greatest recurrence of imagery appears through Dante’s use of animals. Beginning with Canto I, the story starts with Dante’s path being blocked by three beasts, a lion, a she-wolf, and a leopard. The three animals are used as examples of the primitive temptations that block our path towards God through sin. The leopard is used as a symbol of malice and fraud, the lion represents violence and ambition, and the she-wolf represents incontinence.…show more content…
He will wait for the precise moment, when the prey least expects it, before attacking. Dante develops this comparison to those who commit sins of fraud because typically present themselves as respectable, reliable, and trustworthy, as opposed to revealing their true motives. In Canto XVII, readers are introduced to Geryon, a horrific beast who seems, upon first impression, to be an innocent man. “The face was as the face of a just man/Its semblance outwardly was so benign/And of a serpent all the trunk beside/Two paws it had, hairy unto the armpits/The back, and breast, and both the sides it had/Depicted o'er with nooses and with shields” (Inferno XVII). Here, we see an example of a fraudulent creature, whose vicious nature was masked by a disguise, just like the

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