The entire series is a Twitter narrativeThe character limit is such that Dante is forced to relate his adventures in little paltry
That trip through hell wasn't for Dante's benefit.It was for Hell's. This theory is easier to accept if all you have is the Inferno.
Dante is having a Near-Death ExperienceHis trek through hell, purgatory, and heaven are simply a wildly detailed hallucination of his idea of what the afterlife should be like. This would explain the failures in physics and why he can name the specific people in their representative places. They're where he thinks they should go.
- Interestingly, several critics think the "Dark Wood" that he finds himself in at the very start of the epic is a metaphor for being suicidally depressed (since the other dark wood in Inferno is inhabited by the souls of the Suicides and the self-destructive in general.)
Dante went to Hell before writing this.He ended up getting killed, and ended up in Hell. However, being a religious man, he formulated a plan to escape. He eventually ended up in Heaven, where God, impressed by this, gave the man his life back and promised he'd go to Heaven one day if he gave an accurate description of the afterlife. Too bad for Dante Values Dissonance doesn't apply to God.
- That's not far off, as there's already WMG that he was contemplating suicide; maybe he did commit suicide, but came back to write his tale?