Inferno- Reflective Statement

How was your understanding of cultural and contextual considerations of the work developed through the interactive oral?

I think that through the oral presentation, I gained a deeper insight into Dante’s Inferno. We explored Dante’s life and career, Christian theology in relation to Dante’s inferno, earlier and later depictions of hell, as well as numerology- how Dante used numbers in the Inferno, and why he did that.

By looking at Dante’s life, I learnt that he was born into a politically powerful family and was quite well off. As he grew up, he was greatly involved in politics. Dante was part of the White Guelph, which opposed the corrupt actions of Pope Boniface VIII. He was the leader of the delegation which was supposed to investigate Pope Boniface’s intentions. In the Inferno, Dante stated that Pope Boniface VIII was due in hell, and this was probably where he got this impression from. From here, I can see that when Dante was writing The Divine Comedy, he made use of people he knew and met before and heard of before. He judged them and determined where he thought they would fit into the whole scheme of the christian after world.

Dante was a Christian, and I originally thought that he would write from a typical christian’s perspective. However, his view of hell was quite different from those depicted in the old and new testaments of the bible. Those images of hell were typically dark, hot, with a monster or demon torturing the sinners physically. However, in Dante’s hell, we see how a sinner’s punishment is the sin that they’ve committed, and that some circles are hot while other’s are cold. Dante’s hell can be said to represent Pagan Greek and Roman mythology instead.

This actually can be said to represent Dante’s idea that the Classical and Christian world were one and the same, with the same God above. Dante also used the number 3 a lot in the Inferno- 3 main divisions, three ditches in some circles. The number three is a very important in both Greek culture (Three Fates) and Christian theology (Holy Trinity).

I think that through understanding Dante’s life and beliefs, as well as other views on Dante’s Inferno and of hell, I am better able to understand the cultural and contextual considerations of the Inferno