Date of Award

Spring 6-2-2023

Document Type

Honors Project

University Scholars Director

Dr. Christine Chaney

First Advisor/Committee Member

Dr. Leland Saunders


Dante, Catharsis, Horror, Inferno, Divine Comedy, Monster


This paper serves to analyze and explain why audiences are attracted to stories with elements of Horror in them, using Dante’s Inferno as the vehicle for this conversation, as the Inferno’s setting is in the worse possible place imaginable. Horror narratives arise feelings of fear and disgust in its audiences through the use of monsters, as audiences relate to the fear and disgust the positive characters in the narratives are feeling because of the monster’s presence. Since these emotions arise in a safe space, such as in literature or film, where the source of the emotions is not endangering the audiences, the audience is able to safely purge or purify these emotions within them, in a process known as Catharsis. Thus, it is this desire to have these heightened emotions without any of the risks that causes audience members to seek out Horror narratives.

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