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PLOT STRUCTURE ANALYSIS
The entire "Divine Comedy" in "terza rima" or threefold rhyme. It is divided into three parts - Inferno, Purgatory and Paradiso. Each of these is again subdivided in its structure into three parts. The whole of the "Divine Comedy" has hundred Cantos. The "Inferno" has thirty-four Cantos. But if the first Canto of the "Inferno" is taken as a Prelude, which is what it really is, then each part will consist of thirty-three Cantos, making ninety-nine in all.
The three divisions of the "Inferno" are minutely described and explained by Dante in Canto XI. They are separated from each other by great spaces in the infernal abyss. The sins punished in them are:
This division of reprehensible actions into three classes is based upon Aristotle.
The entire action of the Divine Comedy occurs over its three volumes. The "Inferno" is thus just one-thirds of it. It concentrates on unrepentant sinners, their punishment and the nature of sin. The pilgrim is first exposed to all these, then he attempts to understand them. As the two poets progress forward in Hell, the pace of the poem picks up and it finally reaches its climax when they reach the pit of the Hell and come across Dis or the Devil himself.