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Dante’s Inferno canto 1 lines 1-12Midway in our life’s journey, I went astrayfrom the straight road and woke to find myselfalone in a dark wood. How shall I say?what wood that was! I never saw so drear,so rank, so arduous a wilderness!Its very memory gives shape to fear.Death could scarce be more bitter than that place!But since it came to good, I will recountall that I found revealed there by God’s grace.How I came to it I cannot rightly say,so drugged and loose with sleep had I becomewhen I first wandered there from the True Way.How can we read these lines literally and figuratively?

name the 7 deadly sins and 7 cardinal virtues
Name the 7 Deadly Sins and 7 Cardinal Virtues
  • 7 Deadly Sins7 Cardinal Virtues
  • Pride Faith
  • Envy Hope Christian virtues
  • Greed Love
  • Sloth Prudence
  • Wrath TemperanceGreek Cardinal virtues
  • Lust Courage
  • Gluttony Justice
Sins of excess/emotion vs. Sins of intellect

Lust excessive love of others

Gluttony consumption to the point of waste

Greed/Avarice Choosing material and temporal over God

Sloth lazy / lacking zeal in love for God

Wrath uncontrolled feelings of hatred

Envy one’s desire to deprive others

Pride desire to be more important that others. "love of self perverted to hatred and contempt for one's neighbor."

Faith: in God
  • Hope: belief in a positive outcome
  • Love: Greek agape love of family/God eros sexual love
  • Prudence: caution regarding practical matters
  • Temperance: self restraint in action / self control
  • Courage: confronting fear
  • Justice: moderation between selfishness and selflessness
ways to read inferno
Ways to “read” Inferno

Allegory: Dante/Italy lost his “moral way”

Love story: Dante is trying to get back to Beatrice, for him the image of God

Psychological: Dante is working out his depression from being banished from Florence.

Structure: Dante is shown a level of hell based on various sins. Usually one or two people offer their reason for being where they are as representation of sin. Notice the connection between sin and punishment

(i.e. Paulo and Francesca: sin/lust punishment/storm).

dante in art
Dante in Art

Dante in the Woods

dante in art8
Dante in Art
  • The Gluttonous
dante in art10
Dante in Art
  • Botticelli


dante in art11
Dante in Art


dante in art12
Dante in Art


dante in art13
Dante in Art
  • Dante’s House in Florence
dante in art14
Dante in Art
  • Gustave Dore

Paolo and Francesca

dante in art15
Dante in Art
  • William Blake

Whirlwind of Lovers