The world of Dante, in which sins are punished in Inferno, has a direct connection to Dante’s views as to who is responsible for the political status of Italy. Dante was not pleased of the Italian governments conditions and situation. .

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Dante believed that politicians were the general decision makers. He was not in favor of the power the popes of his time had, such as Pope Boniface. He thought that the popes were spoiling their roles as religious leaders and role models for society by owning property, and were being degraded by the money and political power that was given to them. These political/religious leaders were the main problems facing Italy; this is why Dante placed them in the lower levels of hell.

From the second part of the seventh circle and up, the sinners are portrayed in a more usual manner. Suicides and murderers, who are considered the worst of all, occupy the seventh circle. In canto XIII the suicides explain, “I am he who held both keys to Frederick’s heart, / locking, unlocking with so deft a touch/ that scarce another soul had any part (58-60).” In this circle, one of the suicides who said, “I am he- is Pier delle Vigne, who was a powerful minister of Emperor Frederick II, until he was accused of treachery and was imprisoned, so he committed suicide to run away from the torture. The heretics are in the sixth circle, the wrathful in the fifth, the miserly in the fourth, the gluttons in the third, the lustful in the second, and those that, ” lacked Baptism’s grace, which is the door/ of the true faith you were born to (IV, 35-6),” in the first circle. Dante blames the state of Italy primarily on the selfish leaders who make the decisions, secondly those forced to carry out the leaders orders and do the “dirty work,” and finally those who let others act through their own inactions.

One of the political allusions is found in the third circle, where the gluttons are punished.



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