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The Tale of Saigyo and The Inferno both trace the unique journeys of two interesting figures Saigyo and Dante The two journeys are differing in that one is a journey through the life of a Buddhist monk and the other is a journey through the different circles of hell The Tale of Saigyo is a poetic biography of the late Heian poet Saigyo 1118-1190 one of the most loved and respected poets in Japanese literary history Its anonymous author followed the venerable poem-tale tradition by using 128 of Saigyos finest and best-known poems and weaving around those facts and legends about the poet Saigyos poetry is largely concerned with a love of nature and devotion to Buddhism The result is a biographical journey through his life Saigyo moves from the life of a brilliant and favored young poet at the Heian imperial court through a Buddhist awakening that leads him to cast off his worldly life and family ties to transform himself into a wandering monk Similar to The Tale of Saigyo in The Inferno Dante begins his spiritual journey with the visit to the land of the dead He does this because his poems spiritual pattern is not classical but Christian Dantes journey to hell represents the spiritual act of dying to the world and hence it coincides with the season of Christs own death In Dantes poem he is an exponent of classical reason He is also a historical figure and is presented as such in The Inferno In addition The Inferno represents a false start during which Dante the character must be disabused of harmful values that somehow prevent him from rising above his fallen world Despite the regressive nature of The Inferno Dantes meetings with the roster of the damned are among the most memorable moments of the poem For example the Neutrals Ulysses Francescada Rimini and Filipo Argenti are just to name a few that imposed them upon
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