The Inferno was written in mid-life by a disappointed politician. Dante Alighieri found himself on the wrong side of the in-fighting in medieval Florence and was exiled by triumphant opponents. Frank Field could have written it. Strip away the poem's torments and theology (which, of course, you mustn't, but just to start with) and you find somebody trying to deal with thwarted ambition and a sense of injustice. Dante's Hell is what those feelings create and he looks for a way out, of somehow getting through and beyond them.