Although love is not frequently mentioned in the text of the Inferno, it is always in the back of the astute reader’s mind. Love’s single most surprising appearance comes at the threshold of Hell, where Dante learns that this place of punishment has been created from "Primal Love." As Dante meets sinner after sinner and hears their pitiable stories, readers are encouraged to question – along with Dante – how a loving God could impose such pain on seemingly decent people. With his often sympathetic portrayals of sinners, Dante directly challenges the notion that Hell could have been created out of love. On a more mundane level, love – like language and matter – is considered one of the fundamental bonds that tie individuals together. When this bond is broken, many people can be affected and led into sin.
The portrayal of the noble sinners contests the idea that Love created Hell by emphasizing their virtue over their sin and eliciting readers’ sympathy for their eternal suffering.
Dante’s treatment of family members and father figures suggests that one’s love for his family should remain strong no matter what happens.