"Inferno" as an Epic Analytical Essay by Master Writers

"Inferno" as an Epic
Examining whether Dante's classic poem "Inferno" can be considered an epic.
# 16622 | 1,626 words | 0 sources | 2002 | US
Published on Jan 24, 2003 in Literature (Poetry) , English (Analysis) , Literature (Italian)

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This paper explains that an epic poem has several standard features to it. These include that the poem is a narrative on a large scale; that the poem is a story of adventure, usually involving a hero on some kind of quest; that the poem begins in the middle of the action or in medias res; that it contains a link to myth or legend; that battles and perilous journeys are a major part of the action; and that there is a reference to the supernatural, Gods or the underworld. By comparing the poem "The Inferno" to these qualities of an epic, it is shown that the poem qualifies as an epic poem, meeting every one of these qualities.

From the Paper:

"Firstly, the poem is a narrative on a large scale. The poem is a narrative on a large scale in three ways. It is an epic in terms of its epic length, being a poem consisting of 34 books. It is also an epic on the scale that Dante travels all over the world, and all over hell. Finally, it is on a large scale because of the significance of Dante's journey. Dante's journey represents his process of coming to understand the way to heaven. His journey allows him to find meaning and gives him the inspiration to write the poem to show other people the way to heaven. This gives the poem a large scale significance. The one area the poem is not consistent with an epic is the time-frame. Unlike many epics, Dante's journey takes place over a period of days. However, while this point is not consistent with all epics, the epic significance of Dante's journey makes up for this."

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