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The Fall: Dante’s Inferno

The third circle of hell, illustrated by StradanusDante Alighieri is widely considered one of the greatest poets in history, and his epic poem, La Divina Comedia, is one of our greatest works of literature. The Inferno, a description of the Christian representation of Hell, is the first of the three components of the Divine Comedy, the others being Purgatorio and Paradiso.

More than a religious work, Dante’s Inferno is a representation of the alienated individual. It is a beautiful allegory of that point in our life’s journey where, having achieved everything we are told we should want in life, we are left asking, “Is This It?”

Dante captures alienation and despair in mid life perfectly, and his harrowing description of his descent into the nine (9) Levels of Hell is a searing evocation of the pain and trials that accompany the point where we too lose our way in our journey.

To find our way back – back to our souls, as represented in Paradiso – we, like Dante, must go through Hell. We must experience the death of our “Ego” selves, of hubris, to reunite with the divine.