Complexity of Dantes Inferno

by Alexis Hope, 09 May 2017

Quick glance at The Divine Comedy and how difficult it is to read.

A while back I read Dante's Inferno, knowing next to nothing about the history or story. Only having fragments of knowledge which I'd gleaned from games. As I began to read I learnt that it is a poem, originally written in Italian. Written by Florence poet Dante Alighieri 1265 – 1321. And his Divine Comedy, is a masterpiece of world literature. He begun c. 1308 and completed in 1320, a year before his death in 1321. Its release in Italian was contentious, as notable literature of the time was published in Latin, available only to the affluent that could read it. The Italian language was considered a 'common' language, and works published in this tongue (Italian) didn't receive the same esteem. Dante helped establish Italian as the national language.

The translation I read was The Inferno Translated by John Ciardi. And as it pointed out the Italian language is considered very poetic having a rhythmically cadence. Being a poem it makes translating this work impossible. As you can either translate for the poetic nature, or to keep literally meaning. An additional layer of complexity is the inferred jabs at political and religious establishments of the time. So each chapter of this translation is laid out in three parts. A literal translation of the events in the chapter, a poetic rendition and lastly a follow-up interpretation of the chapter and its significance at the time. So to truly appreciate the Divine Comedy you have to read it original form

Comprehension relative to known words

Frequency Distribution of The 7 Sins

Key word density of top 1000 words

Top 100 words in The Inferno

e
4282
che
3786
la
2515
di
2104
a
1983
non
1477
per
1410
in
1153
si
1134
l
959
com
852
le
828
io
827
de
824
li
822
sì
805
mi
739
il
708
più
673
da
663
con
660
del
649
642
lo
599
chi
578
se
561
quest
542
al
516
ma
510
quell
476
tu
476
tutt
463
ne
449
qual
382
suo
382
quel
380
nel
376
i
347
me
339
quand
332
son
329
tant
325
poi
320
o
313
fu
312
così
310
mio
308
lor
304
un
302
sua
301
diss
298
ti
286
là
278
ben
277
prim
270
già
266
sol
260
vid
251
noi
250
laltr
247
lui
246
ved
230
qui
230
dov
223
era
219
occhi
219
quant
218
cant
211
sé
210
perché
208
ché
197
mia
197
ancor
194
part
191
ciel
182
ver
181
pur
181
fa
180
tal
178
nostr
177
dal
175
né
174
gent
170
or
165
ed
164
ciò
163
però
163
giù
163
cui
161
fuor
159
sanz
157
lun
157
poc
154
ad
152
tra
150
esser
150
fatt
149
mond
149
cha
148
ven
145