The Use Of Parody In Dante's Inferno

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Dante’s Inferno is the story of Dante the character’s journey through Hell with Virgil, the ancient poet, as his guide. Many people read Dante’s use of contrapaasso as depictions of the punishment bestowed upon earthly sinners by God. However, another way to view these depictions are as a symbol of God’s love for his creation. When one lives a sinful lifestyle and feels no need to repent, God loves them so much that he grants their desire to live sinfully for eternity. While these displays of God’s love allow souls to live out their desired lifestyles, it does so in a way that parodies the actual sin. This is most seen through Dante’s depiction of Lucifer as a parody of the Holy Trinity. Through Lucifer’s description, actions, and lack of communication,…show more content…
There are two triangular relationships that can be seen as Hellish parodies of the Holy Trinity. First is the relationship between Lucifer, Dante the character, and Virgil which could be seen as a manifestation of the Holy Trinity—the “king of Hell,” the pilgrim, and the guide respectively—except it can never be a true trinity because Dis is unable to communicate with the other two. The second relationship is the triangle formed by the three traitors—Judas, Brutus, and Cassius. However, this attempt at an inverted trinity also fails because of the way Lucifer’s central face tortures Judas (by chewing his upper body), as opposed to chewing on the lower bodies of the traitors on the left and right. This has a two-fold significance. First, this severs the trinity’s ability to communicate, effectively severing any kind of real relationship. Second, by chewing on Judas’ upper-body, Dis makes it impossible for readers to know who it is for sure. While everyone assumes it is Christ’s worst betrayer—and its relatively safe to say those individuals are correct—the only people who know for sure are God, Lucifer, and the individual being tortured (Cervigni, “The Muted Self-Referentiality” 56). This ambiguity prevents the creation of any kind of true triad. While both of these groups are unified by Lucifer because he must be present for the relationships to be possible, he is also the reason they fail and will never be able to act as any kind of true trinity. This is juxtaposed to God’s position in the Holy Trinity—God created the Holy Trinity and His presence continues to make it

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