What is the moral lesson of Inferno?

The abiding moral lesson of the Inferno is that evil is always punished. Throughout his journey into hell, Dante the pilgrim comes across numerous people who, when they were alive, were rich and powerful. Many of them probably thought that they could act as they pleased without fear of any consequences. But the hideous punishments and tortures they are forced to endure is a reminder that actions always have repercussions.

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If there's one moral lesson from Dante's Inferno that bears repeating, it's that evil is always eventually punished and that everyone will one day suffer the consequences of their actions. In Dante's day, that meant going to hell, which just about everyone at that time believed was a literal place,...

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If there's one moral lesson from Dante's Inferno that bears repeating, it's that evil is always eventually punished and that everyone will one day suffer the consequences of their actions. In Dante's day, that meant going to hell, which just about everyone at that time believed was a literal place, full of fire and torment.

When Dante ventures into the depths of hell with Virgil as his trusty guide, he comes across many souls who, once upon a time, were famous (or infamous) back in the living world. Some of them are popes, like the notoriously venal and corrupt Boniface VIII; others are political leaders from Dante's own time like Farinata and Filippo Argenti. But all of them were either incredibly rich, powerful, or a combination of both.

Though guilty of committing a wide range of sins, they are all sinners, and they all acted as if there would be no consequences for their actions. Dante's detailed descriptions of the often sickening punishments they receive act as a reminder to his readers that such an assumption is the height of arrogance and foolishness. According to Dante, it doesn't matter who a person is, no matter how rich, powerful, or aristocratic—if they commit evil acts, then they're going to hell, where they will be punished for all eternity.

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