Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1946/35373
In this essay, I examine the literary works of Dante’s Inferno and Mark Cain’s Circles in Hell series, focusing on the values of good and evil and the way in which society has tolerated these two dichotomies. The essay also demonstrates the way punishments are used in these two works in order to show how tolerance influences different aspects of life. I also show how these values have changed through the years and how literature can be used to reflect upon the nature of change. Moreover, I examine the relationship between contemporary society and Christian theology. I show how the centre of power has shifted from the latter to the former as the culture has changed with respect to ethical choices. We also see how the protagonists deal with dilemmas in different ways according to the rules of the society in which they live.
In this essay, I compare two literary works, separated by time. However, there is more to this separation than time. There is also the notion of style, namely that Dante chose to write a poem which is an allegory, while Circles in Hell is a satire. Circles in Hell is also a commentary on our contemporary society, a society in which religion is no longer at its centre. The focus in this paper is Inferno and not the other parts of The Divine Comedy, meaning the thesis explores depictions of Hell. However, interestingly, Hell seems to be a more tolerant realm than we might expect. It is because these are literary works and not oral that they are representative of their time and can be used as a resource, unlike the oral tradition which morphs with time.
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