In his poem Dante showed not only medieval perceptions of Heaven and Hell, good and evil but also his own view on human virtues and sins. As any other author he made the poem his own personal statement, therefore it reflects Dante’s political and moral principles. First of all, Dante was a catholic. Therefore, hardly any person without being baptized could enter the Gates of Heaven. On the other hand, Dante believed that person can be good and moral even without being catholic. This is why he created Limbo. Actually, it is the first circle of Hell but people there are not tortured. They lived virtuous life, their only sin is that they live before Christianity was introduced. Here Dante meets “Homer, Poet sovereign; He who comes next is Horace, the satirist; The third is Ovid, and the last is Lucan” (Dante, Canto IV). Dante’s own preferences made him to create this department of Hell to show his respect to poets of antiquity. As a catholic, Dante hates a man, who betrayed Jesus. Judas deserves the most severe punishment – the ninth circle of Hell. On the other hand, in the Canto III, Dante discovers that he is under the protection of Beatrice, his lover, and that she is in Heaven now. So, Dante deifies people he loves.
Dante’s political principles can be traced also in the Inferno. It is known, that Dante was Guelph and Ghibellines were political opponents of his party. Therefore, Florentine leader of ghibellines, Florinata, appears in the sixth circle of Hell, where Heretics are placed. Besides, Cavalcante is found also in that circle. He followed the Epicurean philosophy and therefore he cannot enter Heaven. But the betrayal is the worst sin Dante can imagine. Therefore, all the political traitors are placed in the ninth circle of Inferno. Here readers can find Ugolino and Ruggieri – traitors of Guelph and Ghibellines. “Thou hast to know I was Count Ugolino, And this one was Ruggieri the Archbishop; Now I will tell thee why I am such a neighbor” (Dante, Canto 33).
Dante’s Inferno serves not only to show religious beliefs of medieval people. It also helps to create a psychological and social image of Dante himself. He seems to be the man with strong moral principles and clear political statement.
Dante, Alighieri. Inferno. Web. 6 Nov 2013.