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Dante's the Inferno Contrasting Images

  • Date Submitted: 02/01/2012 05:35 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 78 
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In Canto one of The Inferno, Dante develops the contrast between hope and fear by using contrasting symbols such as light and dark or life and death.

Like night and day, fear and hope are inseparable, always together.   In the poem, Date uses light and darkness to contrast hope and despair.   “It was the dawn of morning, the sun rising with the very stars I love.”   This quote displays Dante’s feeling of hope and compares it to the light of the sun.   “…this beast had such an effect on me…forced me back, back into the sun’s absence.”   This quote displays Dante’s feeling of fear and despair and compares it to the darkness.   Whether the darkness he describes is surrounding him or if it is inside of him, the audience can feel the absence of hope.

Fear and hope are complete opposites of each other, as are life and death.   To show the connection between hope and fear, Dante contrasts life and death.   The way he does this is that he contrasts Virgil and himself.   Dante says “Take pity on me whoever you are, ghost or real man.”   Virgil replies “No man, but once man.”   Dante uses this short conversation to illustrate the connection between life and death. The audience has to make the leap from life and death to fear and hope.

In conclusion, Dante contrasts fear and hope by using life and death or light and darkness.   Through the use of these sharply contrasting images, Dante is able to truly represent fear and hope.


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