18 February 2010
Prospectus for Paper 2
The city references made by scholars match my interpretation of Dante Alighieri’s language in Cantos 8 through 9. In these very cantos he specifically points out to details about Hell that are simply city-like. Questions arise such as: Why would Dante categorize Inferno as a city? Readers are meant to interpret Hell as its own entity and as a body rather than an organized city full of boroughs. Hell is oriented as a city for many reasons. The punishments such as harrowing winds, tormentful storms, rolling weights, and tombs can all be part of a city. We envision Inferno to be a place of fire, but Dante took a different approach. Instead, the city of Dis has walls, moats, and even gates. As we even enter the gates of Hell we can allude to the scenery being that of large watchtowers, a river, and walls.
Why was did Dante orient Hell this way? In a sense I feel that he wanted to organize the status hierarchy in Hell the same way it would be in city. The physical appearance is blatant when Virgil and the pilgrim step into the second circle, being that is smaller and had to go down. Thus creating a funnel-shaped Hell. Another factor of the city aspect is that of status. So like in every city there are citizens. In Hell there resides many characters that come alive in Inferno. How does the citizenship of Hell affect Dante’s views or the readers’? We do become stunned to find some people in specific circles of Hell, but it seems to be that the more specific and deep the funnel goes into the more specific and popular the people are. They become more in accordance with Florence as well.
Florence cannot be ignored when speaking of Inferno and will not stray away from the fact that the city-like depiction of Hell symbiotically coincides in Dante’s love and hate relationship with Florence. I am trying to tie into the depiction of Hell as a city and Dante’s reason behind it. Is it because he wanted the Inferno to be visible and illustrated or was it because Florence is Hell?