Virgil Analysis of Dante Inferno

2187 words 9 pages
Virgil came to be regarded as one of Rome's greatest poets. His Aeneid can be considered a national epic of Rome and has been extremely popular from its publication to the present day.
Virgil- Beatrice sends Virgil to Earth to retrieve Dante and act as his guide through Hell and Purgatory. Since the poet Virgil lived before Christianity, he dwells in Limbo (Ante-Inferno) with other righteous non-Christians. As author, Dante chooses the character Virgil to act as his guide because he admired Virgil's work above all other poets and because Virgil had written of a similar journey through the underworld. Thus, Virgil's character knows the way through Hell and can act as Dante's knowledgeable guide while he struggles alongside Dante
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With all his apostrophes, name-dropping, and unintelligible phrases like "the Fishes glitter now on the horizon / and all the Wain is spread out over Caurus," Virgil’s words are indeed "decorated."

Not only that, but Virgil's requests are often granted. That’s where the "persuasive" part comes in. Have you noticed how every time Virgil talks to someone, he gets what he wants? He convinces a scared Dante to come with him to HELL, he gets half-horse archers to guide him (instead of shooting him), ditto with the demons, he wheedles a free ride out of Geryon, and he sways the murdering giant Antaeus to cup them in his palms like a little sparrow and lower them safely to their destination. That’s some major persuasive power right there.

Dante does, however, introduce doubts about the goodness of this way of talking. Virgil does get locked out of Dis for a reason. His "persuasive word" presupposes a good deal of pride in its speaker. Let’s face it, in order to talk like Virgil, you’ve got to know you’re hot stuff. Otherwise you couldn’t go around calling people "bedraggled harridan[s]…with shit-filled nails." Which is why he irritates people, namely the inhabitants of Dis. His rhetoric about having God’s all-access card, along with his general pompousness make him a difficult guy to talk to, much less argue against. Combine that with the fact that his speeches are really long (a drawback of the "persuasive word") and it’s easier to just nod your ahead and leave.