Inferno is an Italian epic poem by Dante Alighieri that was probably written around 1314 and first published in 1321. Written in the Tuscan dialect, with the poem contributing to the development of the Italian language as a literary medium, Inferno depicts Dante’s allegorical journey through the nine circles of Hell, guided by the Roman poet Virgil. Each of the nine circles represents different sins and their corresponding punishments.   

Set against the backdrop of Dante’s exile from Florence and the political turmoil of the time, Inferno reflects the medieval Christian worldview, incorporating classical and biblical references. The narrative is not only a personal journey but also a reflection on the societal and political issues of Dante’s era. The poem offers a profound treatise on morality, justice, and the human condition. The themes of sin, redemption, and the divine order explored in Inferno continue to resonate in contemporary discussions about morality and the consequences of one’s actions. Dante’s vivid descriptions of Hell and its inhabitants have inspired countless artists, writers, and thinkers throughout the centuries.

Inferno was part of a collection of three works by Dante (along with the works Purgatorio and Paradiso) that was called The Comedy, and later, The Divine Comedy.

Read the free full text, the full poem summary, an in-depth analysis of Beatrice, and explanations of important quotes from Inferno.

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