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Dante's Inferno. Part one of "The Divine Comedy". I'm not a reader of poetry. That's the first point i should make because essentially, this is just a very long poem - novel sized and even I loved it. Well, "love" may not be the best word for this. The book portrays a vision of hell that is truly frightening. I, as a catholic who believes in Heaven and Hell, was particularly watchful of my actions once i had finished reading. So, what's it all about?
Dante Alighieri wrote the divine comedy, a series of three poems which chart his journey through Heaven, Hell and purgatory. They are named: Inferno (this book), Purgatorio and Paradiso. Inferno is the most chilling of the three as it follows Dante. A being from heaven instructs him that he must correct the error of his ways in order to achieve eternal rest. To do this, Dante is sent a guide, Virgil, a poet from generations ago. Virgil guide Dante through the nine circles of hell, showing how much worse a torment the eternally damned suffer the further in to hell they are placed.
The first circle is limbo. It is not for sinners but for those who rejected Christ in life.
The second circle is for those overcome by lust in life. They are eternally blown around in a raging storm.
The third circle is for glutens. They are forever made to lie in the mood being bombarded with rain and hail.
The forth is for those who put to much place in material possessions and hoarded all for themselves. The people here are made to forever push weights.
The fifth circle contains the river Styx. This is a place for those who were wrathful in life and constantly fight each other to surface the water.
The sixth houses heretics in flaming tombs. The seventh contains the violent, blasphemers and suicides.
The eighth houses the fraudulent who are kept in stone pits.
The ninth and final circle of hell contains traitors who are submerged in a river of ice and Lucifer.
While Dante and Virgil travel through hell they are never completely safe and must always be weary of their words and actions. The many horrors of hell are shown to Dante and the reader and it leaves you with a sense of fear.
For those who do not read poetry, i would still suggest reading this book. It reads almost like a novel. It is a little "wordy" compared to what you might normally have read but you soon stop noticing this and get caught in the events that occur. It is gripping and compelling and will certainly be something of a thought-provoker to all who read it. This is certainly my favourite of the three parts of "The Divine Comedy" and if ever i wanted to see a film made from something I have read, then this is it. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys poetry or anyone with a good imagination that could use a good light display in your head when you read this. Rarely have i read something which allows the reader to visualise so well what the author, or in this case, poet is trying to convey.
This is the first volume of a new prose translation of Dante's epic - the first in twenty-five years. Robert Durling's translation brings a new power and accuracy to the rendering of Dante's extraordinary vision of Hell, with its terror, pathos, and sardonic humour, and its penetrating analyses of the psychology of sin and the ills that plague society.