Friday, November 2, 2012

Society Portrayed in Dante's Inferno

In his Inferno, Dante represents society in some interesting ways. Through the sinners we meet and the people he talks about in his Hell, we see that men played a large part of society but were maybe not always the most clear-minded thinkers. We see men from the church, but they are usually not always the best role models, merchant and business men, religious leaders, political leaders, military leaders, and rulers of cities, those who are misguided by women, and writers dabbling in Epicurean philosophy. All of these people and their actions, of which is way to much detail for me to go into in a blog post, give the reader an insight into what society was like and what Dante saw. Dante also gives the reader insight into the values and beliefs that were held at the time through the actions of his sinners and the beliefs that previously held and still hold when in conversation with Dante.

6 comments:

Madeline Davis said...

I found Dante's Inferno as a social commentary to be really interesting. Although most of the things he wrote about had already happened in reality after the book's setting, Dante had a ridiculous amount of insight into society's wrongdoings. I also found it brave that Dante had the guts to call several powerful politicians and clergymen out on their corruption and fraudulence. Then again, he had already been exiled, so I guess he didn't have much to lose.

Lindsay A said...

Perhaps this is just me, but I noticed that the only people Dante ever talked to in Hell were people of renowned stature. Perhaps that's just because Dante himself was in the political circle and therefore knew people with well known names. But from what we see Dante never goes up to a common poor person and has a conversation. Dante really only portrays the upper middle class, those involved politically, the clergy, and some famous historical people.

Madeline Davis said...

Lindsay, I noticed that too. Dante mainly spoke to very important people, but he also spoke to a few average people, such as Francesca and Paolo. My guess is that he wanted to show the enormous impact that the sins of renowned politicians and clergymen would produce on Florence and the rest of the world, while also acknowledging that common sins, like lust, effect common people and still ultimately lead to Hell.

Laura N said...

Also the fact that women are hardly mentioned, if ever, after the circle of lust may tell us that women didn’t play a significant role in public life so never had the opportunity to sin as heinously as the men they married. The other mention of women was of St. Lucia, Beatrice, and Mary who were all motherly, compassionate, and helpful. Perhaps this tells us that the role of women was to help men, be their support and to remain out of the public eye. Women are capable of swaying men off the path of righteousness with their sexuality but other than that, they are not very harmful or of much importance.

Ben Bonner said...

I think it was clever (if not very subtle) how Dante managed to put people who were still living when he was writing the Inferno in hell by suggesting that their souls had been sent to hell while their bodies were inhabited by that of a demon. Also with regards to what Luara said, even though Castiglione came way after Dante's time, I think we can see some of the samem values for women in the Inferno - namely the idea that women should be elegant and composed but otherwise removed from society.

Ben Bonner said...

I think it was clever (if not very subtle) how Dante managed to put people who were still living when he was writing the Inferno in hell by suggesting that their souls had been sent to hell while their bodies were inhabited by that of a demon. Also with regards to what Luara said, even though Castiglione came way after Dante's time, I think we can see some of the samem values for women in the Inferno - namely the idea that women should be elegant and composed but otherwise removed from society.