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Dantes Inferno

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Punishment in Dante’s Inferno

In Dante’s Inferno, Dante narrates his descent and observation of hell through its various circles. One part of this depiction is his descriptions of the various punishments that each of the different sinners has received. The various punishments that Dante imagines the sinners receiving are broken down into two types. The first type he borrows from various gruesome and cruel forms of torture and the second type is Dante’s creative mind thinking of less physically agonizing types of torture, usually psychological torture. The torturous forms of punishments are either physical pain or mental and psychological suffering. Several punishments that Dante envisions for the various sinners are forms of torture. The first physical punishment from that is his punishment for the heretics. The penalty in the medieval era for heresy was public humiliation or worse, being burned to death for having different beliefs. In Dante’s opinion, to be a heretic was to follow one’s own opinion and not the beliefs of the Christian Church. Dante’s punishment for heretics and those who followed them was that they be sepulchered and to have some tombs “heated more, some less” as in to still have them suffer while buried. Since the archheretics believed that everything died with the body and that there was no soul, Dante not only punishes them with the hot and crowded tombs, but he punishes them with their beliefs and lets them feel what it is like to die. This punishment by Dante is one in which he was more focused on inflicting a physical pain rather than a mental one. Although he uses various torturous practices in The Inferno in order to inflict physical agony, Dante sometimes uses famous acts of cruelty to punish the sinners. One such punishment is that which Dante borrows from Emperor Frederick II. Frederick II was well known for…...

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