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Mid-way through his life and faced with an ignominious end Dante Alighieri wrote his greatest work The Divine Comedy We can understand Dantes motive in writing this epic by reading Cantos I through III of Dantes Inferno The Divine Comedy was a self-analysis by a man who found himself spiritually lost Immediately in Canto I we see that Dante the character is lost on a spiritual level He awakens mid-way through his life in a dark woods severed from both light and human connections Dante is in the dark because he is guilty of one of the seven deadly sins Acedia Some dictionaries give sloth or laziness as a meaning for acedia but it is more than physical laziness to the Christian Acedia is moral laziness inertia of the soul and will This sin was evident when Dante said I was so full of sleep just at the point where I abandoned the true path ll 11-12 Upon his awakening he is threatened by three beasts the leopard lion and she-wolf The three beasts can be interpreted to represent the three major sins found in Hell fraud violence and incontinence Dante loses hope when after seeing the leopard and the lion he is confronted by the she-wolf As the she-wolf is the living embodiment of incontinence Dante alludes to the temptation with which he finds himself most dangerously confronted Because Dante was being supported by a wealthy patron it was easy for him to become complacent Having all his needs provided for while not doing anything for either Church or State was beginning to cause a malaise This was of course only one of his beasts Dante faced with the Herculean task of passing the three beasts descends the hill thereby saying that he did not have the strength to pass the three beasts without assistance Just as all hope seems lost Virgil appears Virgil is a poet who served his empire with his
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