The poet Dante set out on a journey, which he does not remember the reason why, but he sees a light that shines atop a hill. Unfortunately, three beasts block his path so he must turn back. On his way back home, his most beloved poet, Virgil, meets Dante from heaven and informs him that he must pass through the depths of Hell in order to reach heaven (the top of the hill). He quest then begins as Muses record this epic poem. Virgil must constantly remind Dante that his cowardice will not be tolerated and must be avoided in order to prevent death during this journey. After Dante faints from the fearsome Charon, the transporter who moves the dead into Hell, he awakens to many famed poets and philosophers, such as Homer and Aristotle, in the first circle of Hell (Limbo). Now travelling into the second circle of Hell (Lust), Minos, the decider of fate, once again causes the living Dante to faint, which forces Virgil to make Minos cooperate and let the two poets pass. They then reach the third circle of Hell (Gluttony), where the mighty Cerberus, a three-headed dog, is located preventing all souls form exiting. The fourth circle is represented by the materialists (Greed). In the fifth (Anger), Dante reaches the city of Dis, the capital of Hell, and comes face to face with Medusa, who changes men into stone by looking into their eyes. Virgil must call upon Divine Aid in order to advance into the sixth circle (Heresy). As a part of the heretics punishment, these sinners can only see distant objects. In the seventh (Violence), Dante finds it divided into violence against others, themselves, and then against God. Before they travel to the next ring, Dante converses with some Sodomites, those who have been violent towards nature and are punished through the eternity of walking through a rain of fire. As he enters the eighth circle (Fraud), he sees souls running wall to wall but cannot escape their fate. Now entering the ninth and final circle of Hell (Treachery), Dante soon reaches the very core, where a shadowed three headed demon awaits in the fog. As Lucifer approaches, Dante explains that his arms alone were bigger than any monster they had previously encountered. In each of his mouths was a sinner, two contained the murderers of Julius Caesar and the middle was filled with Judas, the man who betrayed Jesus Christ. Now their predicament arises, Dante must make it back to heaven alive.
1) Dante Alighieri was a widely famous Italian poet, who wrote this epic as an allegory corresponding to his society. Based on your view of today's society, which three major sins would you place closest to Satan and why?
2) Dante was also a devout Christian, which influenced his journey through Hell into Heaven. If this poem had been regarded as a basis of Hell, would you try to change the ways of your life?