Essay: Characters From Various Literary Works in Dante

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¶ … characters from various literary works in Dante's Hell

Dante Alighieri's epic poem "Divine Comedy" provides readers with an account involving the writer as he is guided through the nine circles of hell by the Roman poet Virgil. His journey through each section of hell is meant to exemplify categories of sinners, their punishment, and the location where they are distributed. The gravity of their sins is an essential factor in determining their treatment and the circle where they are located. The character Claudius in William Shakespeare's "Hamlet," the character Tartuffe in Moliere's "Tartuffe," and the character Okonkwo in Chinua Achebe's "Things Fall Apart" have all committed crimes that can be associated with particular sectors of Dante's medieval concept of hell.

Although it is initially difficult to determine whether if Claudius was actually responsible for murdering Hamlet's father, the protagonist's uncle is gradually shown as being unhesitant about employing immoral behavior in order to achieve his purpose. Claudius has poisoned his husband and his wife, attempted to murder Hamlet, and practically did everything in his power in order to become the king of Denmark. His actions qualifies both as treachery to kindred and as treachery to country, thus making it possible for him to be present in Round Two of the Ninth Circle of Hell.

Trapped in ice with only his face being able to move, Claudius is able to talk to Dante and attempts to explain his behavior: "I was just trying to help the people of Denmark from experiencing great suffering. My brother was unable to deal with the imminent threat represented by Denmark and someone had to act in order to remedy matters. I only wanted my brother dead, but my nephew intervened and turned the situation into a disaster by causing the deaths of Laertes, Ophelia, Polonius, Roencrantz, and Guildenstern. Although I am sorry for the fact that this many people have died, I cannot help but rejoicing that my successor would most likely be a better king than Hamlet would have ever been, considering his mental issues." Virgil explains that individuals are not judged in accordance with the aftermath of their action, as they are actually judged depending on their crime, regardless whether or not they had good intentions at the time when they committed it.

As Dante and Virgil come across Round Four in the Ninth Circle of hell they discover that everyone is completely trapped in ice, with only a faint glare in their eyes being visible through the thick ice. It is here that Dante identifies Tartuffe, who betrayed the people who wanted to help him by tricking them into giving him their house. Virgil stops here for a moment and relates to how these people are not even allowed to try and motivate their actions, as… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Characters From Various Literary Works in Dante.  (2011, October 19).  Retrieved June 17, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/characters-various-literary-works-dante/60132

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"Characters From Various Literary Works in Dante."  Essaytown.com.  October 19, 2011.  Accessed June 17, 2019.
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