Examples Of Paganism In Dante's Inferno

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“What is meant by humanism in this case is once again the exaltation of worldly interests as well as the sympathetic presentation of indomitable, defiant heroes and of human passions in their most mundane and captivating forms” (Montano 206). The Renaissance was a time of “rebirth”. It was a time of bringing back the ideals of the Classical Era and focusing on how mankind could use these ideals to become more knowledgeable. Dante Alighieri’s writing, though penned in the Middle Ages, indicates the true beginning of the Renaissance in Italy. His ideas and passions expressed through his many works have left their impression on the world, extending to modern times. One of Dante’s greatest masterpieces, “Dante’s Inferno”, truly expresses his beliefs…show more content…
Dante included a multitude of pagan characters when describing his version of Hell. Many of these monsters are bound to guard different circles of Hell as payment for sins committed during their lives. One monster in Hell is Antaeus, a Giant who stands as a connection between Circles 8 and 9. They are in Hell for waging war against the Gods. Dante also portrayed his affinity with the great pagan writers of the Classical era, such as Homer. “Well before we stopped to address them, I could see people there and sense they were honorable folk” (Canto IV Lines 58-60). They are in Limbo for being virtuous men, but for dying unbaptized. When meeting them in Hell, Dante is enchanted with their presence and feels privileged just to listen to one of their many profound discussions. Although Dante was an extremely Catholic man, he did have many concerns in how the Catholic Church was lead. In the “Inferno”, Dante clearly emphasizes these faults by portraying many important members of the church in Hell. There is, in fact, one circle of Hell, which can only contain Church officials. In Dante’s Inferno, Circle 8, Pouch 3, which is one of the lowest levels of Hell, is dedicated to those who commit the sin of simony. They are punished by being buried upside-down in holes the size of baptism basins with their protruding feet being burnt by flames. Pope Nicholas…show more content…
Within this discourse, Pico attempted to connect the philosophies of Humanism with the beliefs of the Church. “Pico’s effort too was to reconcile Christian philosophy with the older teachings of Plato and Hebrew philosophers in particular” (Drake). In an effort to instigate this reconciliation, Pico della Mirandola attributed all of the gifts that humans obtain to the grace of God. “But when the work was finished, the Craftsman kept wishing that there were someone (sic) to ponder the plan of so great a work, to love its beauty, and to wonder at its vastness...He finally took thought concerning the creation of man” (Mirandola 48). Pico said that God created humans so they would accomplish something. Of all the other beautiful creatures God created, humans were the only ones with the ability to think and obtain knowledge, which is exactly what Pico believed God wanted. He believed God desired a creature with the ability to ponder the world and its beauty and the way it works. He wished for man to understand the purpose of life and leave a legacy for the generations that follow. This is based upon Dante’s original ideals of Humanism and his wish for all human beings to be remembered. However to leave a legacy, one must have lived a life of importance and filled with the pursuit of
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