Essay: Dante's Inferno Explain the 3 Main Categories of Sins

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Dante's Inferno - Explain the 3 main categories of sins, according to Dante

Dante's Inferno and the three main categories of sin

Dante's journey into hell presents the three main categories of sin, categorized in accordance with God's desire. Depending on the sins that offend God the least, the nine levels of hell put across more and more suffering as Dante advances. Incontinence, violence, and fraud, are all related too as the protagonist progresses through hell's levels, going from sins of self-pity, during which one does little to no damage to the surrounding world and the primary individual affected is himself or herself, to sins that clearly result from harming other people, and, eventually, to the most horrifying sins that exist, those that take on the human intellect in particular.

The first levels of hell show the most placid sins, which have been done because of people's weakness to control their natural desires. Most sins in these six levels are related to human nature, with the individuals punished here being forced to endure pains related to the sins that they committed. By highlighting sins like lust, gluttony, greed, and wrath, Alighieri apparently wants his readers to understand that these are the mildest of all offenses and that God is determined to keep people that committed them separated from those that are unrighteous and that belong in the lower levels of hell.

The writer's intention in writing in regard to the three categories of sin is inspired from Aristotelian concepts, as the Greek philosopher considered that it would be natural for sinners to be punished in accordance to the gravity of their crimes. Virgil actually insists on how Aristotle's ethics explain the reason for which hell is divided into two main groups of sinners. Violence and Fraud account for one general category called Malice while Incontinence is treated as a whole and it covers the second, third, fourth, and fifth levels of hell.

Incontinence basically deals with sins related to refusing to control an instinct that is natural for human beings. Matters like love, hunger, desire for material possessions, and anger are dealt with in the second, third, fourth, and fifth circles of hell, given that God somewhat understands this category of sinners and does not want them to suffer greatly as a result of their sins.

In contrast to committing a sin of incontinence, performing a sin of violence or fraud virtually means that the individual is well-aware of his or her condition and has no aspiration whatsoever to be good. Sinners who commit acts of violence or… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Dante's Inferno Explain the 3 Main Categories of Sins.  (2011, February 28).  Retrieved July 24, 2019, from

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"Dante's Inferno Explain the 3 Main Categories of Sins."  28 February 2011.  Web.  24 July 2019. <>.

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"Dante's Inferno Explain the 3 Main Categories of Sins."  February 28, 2011.  Accessed July 24, 2019.