Dante Image Images of Suffering Essay

  • Length: 2 pages
  • Subject: Literature
  • Type: Essay
  • Paper: #60926741
  • Related Topics: Earthquake

Excerpt from Essay :

Obviously, having only the grinding of one's teeth as an identifiable feature would be a rather hellish mode of existence, and the simplicity with which Dante conveys this hellishness is both a testament to his poetic genius and a highly effective means for providing imagery without interrupting the story. Other descriptions of suffering are somewhat longer and far more active, but are no less succinct and powerful for this: "There never was an earthquake of such might / That it could shake a tower so violently, / As Ephialtes suddenly shook himself" (Inferno, Canto XXXI). The image Dante conveys here again comes form a singular detail, yet the amount of information that this detail -- and the specific description provided by the poet -- conveys is extraordinary, enabling the reader to clearly see the shaking of the figure and to adequately gauge the enormity of this figure's suffering from the shaking. It is by enhancing specific details such as these that Dante is able to produce such clear and vivid images of suffering without inordinately lengthy descriptions or resorting to complex bouts of symbolism and character exposition -- though the suffering and agony that the inhabitants of hell feel is eternal, the understanding of it is quick.

Dante's Inferno has remained a highly engaging text for centuries precisely because it speaks clearly to readers form a variety of cultural and historical backgrounds. The way that this is accomplished is through the communication of images, not grand philosophical ideas. Time and time again, Dante shows himself a master at this throughout his…

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