My thoughts on Dante’s Inferno

I will admit that this is probably the most difficult book i’ve read so far, and that even though I quite enjoy reading, this particular book was quite a pain to read on many levels. Firstly, I thought that the language was difficult to understand as it doesn’t put its point across in plain simple english. There were many places where people’s names were used- historical church figures, figures in other poems and literature works. Thus, because I didnt know much about historical figures and all, it was difficult to understand. However, I thought that it was really enlightening reading Inferno as it gave me a greater perspective into other books and poems as well. Through Dante’s inferno, I learnt not only about Dante as a writer, I also learnt more about other’s works and character’s in other’s works as well.

Being a Roman Catholic by faith, many issues raised in the Inferno were quite difficult to grasp. I understood what they Dante was saying just fine, its just that in my mind it felt like reading something against my religion and everything I believed in. I had to try really hard to wrap my mind around Dante’s thoughts and ideas, and to read Inferno as nothing more than a book.

After finishing the entire book, I sat down and reflected on why reading Inferno was so challenging. And I realised that it’s probably because I’ve never had much experience reading books that discussed religion so openly- catholic, christian, muslim ect. Because the place where I grew up in, Singapore, is a multi-racial, multi-religious society where everyone is very careful about the things we say about religion. I am quite certain that Inferno would not be taught in the Singapore educations system as it would raise many questions about respecting each other’s religions and things like that.

Overall, though difficult to read, Dante taught me a lot of things and gave me a wider perspective on issues and things that went on in the past. Also, I thought that the way Dante merged Greek mythology with Christianity was interesting. If there really is one Divine power, then it all stems out of the same roots and that would be an interesting phenomenon

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1 comment to My thoughts on Dante’s Inferno

  • Jennifer

    I agree with the fact that this book was quite hard to grasp and also discussed religion very openly, combining both Greek mythology and Christianity. I’ve also read a Korean book called “Son of a Man” which explicitly says that ‘devil’ that Jesus met was actually a person and views the world in the perspective of that person. This book was also quite hard to understand since I’ve never properly acknowledged about Bible and Christianity, but compared to this “Inferno” was more interesting to read because it evokes curiosity of the readers about hell and the punishments given to souls after they die-since no one have experienced it before. So for me, when I read Inferno over again it became relatively easier to understand.

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