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Classical Horror in Dantes Inferno XXV Dante Alighieris Inferno is a piece of classical literary horror influenced primarily by the classical writers Ovid and Virgil Alighieri as a poet refined the classic techniques of horror to an art01 A shrewd and imaginative poet he used graphic images to appease the appetite of the common reader while not neglecting their need for imaginative cultivation His unique blend of image and substance is demonstrated best in two cantos in the Inferno Canto XIII The Wood of the Suicides and Canto XXV The Den of the Snake-Thieves and it is in these two cantos that we see Alighieri as the master of the art of horror In discussing Alighieris technique of creating horror in these two cantos one would also note that he was greatly influenced by the image-evoking techniques of Ovid Virgil and other classical poets Canto XXV is the second of two cantos in this part of hell the den of thieves It is important to realize Aliqhieris poetic motives for creating a torture for petty thieves as painful and grotesque as this one Fraud as Virgil explained in canto XI is a basic degeneracy of Gods gift of intelligence for private gain Theft being a type of fraud is in Alighieris mind a subversion of God one of the worst types of fraud as it is one of the lower levels of hell The punishment that Alighieri chooses for the thieves is horrifying and ironic In two different situations t thief horribly mates with serpent and either mutates or transmutates It is ironic that Alighieri portrays the thief as similar to the serpent in nature as the thief uses his stealth and cunning to steal material goods the snake uses his guile and deceit to kill We can also see that Alighieri wanted to suggest that the thieves who in their lifetimes stole many things are now given the punishment t hey
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