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The penalty in the medieval era for heresy was often public humiliation or to burn to death.For Dante, to be a heretic was to follow one’s own opinion and not the beliefs of the Christian Church.
This punishment by Dante is one in which he was more focused on inflicting a physical pain rather than a mental one.
The way that Dante compares one of the most evil punishments to those in his Inferno effectively demonstrates how horrible Hell truly is.
Although this punishment for the hypocrites is quite physically painful, it contains a rather brilliant metaphor.
In Dante’s Inferno, Dante narrates his descent and observation of hell through the various circles and pouches.
One part of this depiction is his descriptions of the various punishments that each of the different sinners has received.