Eliot on offensive content

In his essay "Dante" from The Sacred Wood, T.S. Eliot responds to people who object to Dante's vivid descriptions of the vile and disgusting, especially throughout Inferno:

The contemplation of the horrid or sordid or disgusting, by an artist, is the necessary and negative aspect of the impulse toward the pursuit of beauty.

Goodness never looks so good as it does when contrasted with evil. I think this is, at least in part, why we respond so strongly to self-sacrifice, heroism, and love in terrible circumstances.