Dante’s Inferno Canto V – Poetry Seminar Personal Response

Personal Essay Prompt: What do these texts suggest to you about the forces that inhibit or encourage an individual’s actions?

Thesis: The ultimate driving force behind every decision — good or evil —  is one’s desire to make that decision. In the Christian religion, human beings, through their knowledge of good and evil,  have the inherent ability to resist desires and temptations and recognize them as evil. Sin is a choice, and temptation it’s checkbox. In Dante’s Inferno, Canto V, the lustful are punished for choosing to be incontinent with their desires, thus choosing evil over good. This teaches Dante ultimately that any true sin is choice stemming from a refusal – never an inability – to resist desire.

Link to presentation: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/116oAktHx2riNLc9TISJ0J04_hGQLp1vrhXfwYAo3sxk/edit?usp=sharing

There is a constant struggle – a tug of war – within my mind. A clash of external and inward forces that guide my hand to make my decisions for me.

The following poem establishes the inward forces of self repent and questioning. These emotions encourage inward growth – requiring me to dig deeper about myself as an individual, rather than scrape at the surface. In other words, displaying my internal forces of pity and uncontrollable doubt, encouraging my actions of self love and discovery. Furthermore, in relation to Dante’s Inferno, the theme of lust concealed as love was highly influential in my thinking. One day, my love for myself will be unmoving, falling completely and utterly in love – in lust, with myself.


Mosaic of Memories and Moments


I am not as simple as you deem me to be

What can define me as a person

If I am an entire mosaic

Composed of memories and moments?


Take my eyes-

Stereotypical and dark brown,


My eyes are honey glazed copper

And pollen glistering on wild flowers.


They are eyes full of crevasses,


Of suffering,


Of happiness,


And of content.

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