Dante\'s Inferno is a strange journey through hell, which at times seems familiar but then sometimes seems unexpected. As an American and a Christian it is possible to think that my opinion on this could be crafted from my religion and our society, particularly its media.

In my mind I see hell as this place of immense torment bestowed on sinners. My faith has taught me that those who sin go to hell to be punished. Dante\'s adventure clearly shows that the souls of hell are punished, as I thought. Punishments range from living in filth to painful tortures.

What my religion or any movies or television shows I\'ve seen mentioned is the idea of a hierarchy. The idea of hell being made up of circles that descend based on sin. While this idea makes sense, I have never been exposed to that thought, so it a little surprising, but also interesting. My view of hell was this burning hole where all the souls of sinners kind of dwell together. I basically felt that a sin is a sin, this is probably because it was instilled in my somewhere in my childhood. Now I feel that this circle idea is a better one, possibly more just.

Another thing that surprised me was the placement of sins in this hierarchy. The first few circles seemed plausible to me. The later circles surprised me. Traitors being higher up than those who are violent to people caught me by surprise. Killing another human has been something that I feel is a great sin, but it seemed like traitors belittled it. In life the violent ones are punished harder, so maybe that\'s why it surprised me.

What also surprised me was the placement of Judas in the same rank as Brutus and Cassius. The latter two betrayed Caesar, who to my knowledge is very insignificant, compared to Christ (who was betrayed by Judas). My religious side cries out that this is not right. This even made Dante\'s beliefs of the power of the political party clear, which seemed wrong to me.

Dante seemed to place a lot of religious figures in the bowels of hell. This to was surprising, yet I sort of agree with it. My religion tells me that those who serve God are good people. Although I know that many are unjust. It was just surprising that this issue was brought to the reader\'s attention.

The idea of Satan was something that this poem clarified. The Bible, movies and television deal with the idea of hell having a ruler, Satan. Dis is basically Satan. I wasn\'t surprised that he existed in the last circle. What surprised me was that he was half frozen. Media has portrayed hell as this hot fiery place, which was unsurprisingly true in the middle circles (the raining of fire is an example). When he got to the deepest bowels there is no more fire, but ice in which the worst sinners are frozen in. That caught me off-guard, because what I have seen on various movies and TV shows was the fiery hell.

The most surprising factor was the idea of Dante gong through hell on this tour and having an awakening. Before this I thought that hell was this thing that you heard about to scare you away from sinning. The Inferno makes it into a tour that opens the eyes of Dante. It became an educational tour that awakened his ideas of hell instead of being a fable to keep people from sinning. It seemed odd to me that there could be this actual terrible existence of hell and that someone would want to tour it. Again media affects the idea that it is not someplace to visit.

It was interesting to see how my ideas of hell have been developed through my religion and the media. What is more interesting is how my view of hell has changed since reading the Inferno.