The muse is Beatrice and she calls upon Virgil, who represents Human Reason, to guide Dante through the bowels of Hell. The statement of theme is Dante’s detour from the “True Way” (12). Three beasts that block Dante from climbing the Mount of Joy and they are the Leopard, Lion and She-Wolf, who represent incontinence, violence and fraud respectively. The three beasts foreshadow the three divisions of Hell, and are taken from “Jeremiah,” v, 6. Therefore, Virgil must guide Dante through the sad halls of Hell so he can arrive in Heaven with Divine Love, Beatrice.
By the end of Canto I of “The Inferno,” the writer Dante Alighieri has truly shown this to be an epic poem in the classical sense. The poem is told masterfully through dialogue. In the last quote from Canto I of “The Inferno,” Dante defines the outline. Dante says, “Poet, by that God to you unknown, lead me this way. Beyond this present ill and worse to dread, lead me to Peter’s gate and be my guide through the sad halls of Hell” (123-126). “Peter’s gate” is the gate of Purgatory. The angel Peter guards this gate with a gleaming sword, and is entrusted with two great keys. Those that pass through the gate of Purgatory enter Heaven.
Alighieri, Dante, “The Inferno,” Trans. John Ciardi, Signet Classics, New American Library, a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., New York, New York, 2009, Print.