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Cindy Kenney English 355 Burn in Hell The Comedy later renamed The Divine Comedy was written by Dante Alighieri of Florence Italy In the early 14th century while in exile Dante wrote this epic poem which is broken down into three books In each book Dante recounts his travels through Hell Purgatory and Heaven respectively The first book of The Divine Comedy Inferno is an remarkably brilliant narrative He narrates his descent into and observation of hell through its numerous circles and rings One extraordinary way Dante depicted hell is in his descriptions of the various punishments that each group of sinners has received In a prior college course I took we learned about medieval torture practices This knowledge led me to see similarities in the punishments given in Inferno The diverse punishments that Dante envisions all the sinners in hell receiving are broken down into two types The first he borrows from many gruesome and severe forms of medieval torture The second type is often less physically agonizing It is Dantes creative very clever forms of punishment Although all sinners in hell are souls Dante gives each one a physical attribute so that the reader can envision the entire atmosphere clearer The borrowed medieval forms of torturous punishments create physical pain for the different sinners in hell and thus intended to be interpreted literally The creative punishments are conceived to deliver mental and psychological pain to be understood metaphorically Creative punishments in many cases can however inflict both a mental pain and a physical pain upon the sinner Many of the severe punishments that Dante foresees for the sinners are borrowed from practices of medieval torment and imprisonment The medieval dungeons were usually gloomy and dark and inundated in disgusting stenches Dante used this depiction to describe the overall atmosphere in the inferno Unbearable and unavoidable extremes of cold or hot temperature which are portrayed in the Inferno are also
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