How Does Sparknotes Summarize "Dante's Inferno"?


Quick Answer

Sparknotes summarizes Dante's "Inferno" by splitting the cantos into sections and analyzing each section. The website also offers a plot overview of the poem that highlights main plot points and general themes.

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Full Answer

Sparknotes sorts the cantos into groups that contain one to three cantos each. The website devotes a page to summarizing and analyzing each group of cantos in detail.

The website's plot overview states that "Inferno" begins on the evening of Good Friday in the year 1300. Dante, the poem's protagonist, is lost in a dark forest, but he finds the ghost of Virgil, a great Roman poet, to guide him. Virgil says that he must take Dante through Hell, but that they eventually reach Heaven. Dante and his companion begin their trek through the Nine Circles of Hell, encountering horrors such as the monster Minos, the river Styx and the demonic city of Dis. At the end of the journey, Dante and Virgil climb down the body of Lucifer and reach the river Lethe, emerging from Hell on Easter morning.

Dante Alighieri wrote "Inferno" in the 14th century as part of a larger poem called "Divine Comedy." The other parts of the poem are titled "Purgatorio" and "Paradiso." The three poems together are meant to represent man's journey toward God.

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