Myles P. Toe
Professor Cynthia Gaw
11 November 2016
Punishment that Befits the Sin
Dante’s Inferno originally named The Divine Comedy or in modern Italian The Commedia , follows the contemporary Christian ethos by showing how the consequences of man are equal to their sins; passed upon them in death. The physical sins that man does on earth if not repented of, will then become their eternal consequence in Hell. Dante shows us in his travels through the circles of hell how this suffering is the direct and equal result of their earthly sins. The sins of the cowardice, the lustful, gluttonous, greedy, angry, heretical, violent, fraudulent and treacherous have their bodies in constant pain equivalent of the actions of their human bodies on earth. The thesis of this paper is to show how physical pain enacted upon corporeal bodies in hell, are the logical consequence of sin on earth. I will show this by citing examples of sinners featured in The inferno that are tortured for the sins in their respective layer of hell. The Inferno is based directly upon Dante’s devout catholic nature. The inferno is mixed with the bible, roman Catholicism, mythology and medieval tradition with a direct influence of 14th century roman Catholicism. The passage concerning purgatory is a direct indoctrination from roman Catholicism and is not found anywhere in the bible. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches:
“All who die in God’s grace, but still imperfectly purified,
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Often, we cannot see the good until we have experienced the bad. Dante Alighieri, a poet who makes himself the main character in his Divine Comedy, finds himself lost in a dark wood at the start of The Inferno. Though he sees a safe path out of the wood towards an alluring light, he is forced to take an alternate route through an even darker place. As the ending of the pilgrim Dante’s voyage is bright and hopeful, Alighieri the poet aims to encourage even the most sinful Christians to hope for a successful end. Thus, Dante the pilgrim goes to hell in The Inferno to better understand the nature of sin and its consequences in order to move closer to salvation; his journey an allegory representing that of the repenting Christian soul.
In Dante’s Inferno, part of The Divine Comedy, Canto V introduces the torments of Hell in the Second Circle. Here Minos tells the damned where they will spend eternity by wrapping his tail around himself. The Second Circle of Hell holds the lustful; those who sinned with the flesh. They are punished in the darkness by an unending tempest, which batters them with winds and rain. Hell is not only a geographical place, but also a representation of the potential for sin and evil within every individual human soul. As Dante travels through Hell, he sees sinners in increasingly more hideous and disgusting situations. For Dante, each situation is an image of the quality of any soul that is determined to sin in
Dante and Virgil have just left limbo, the first circle of hell, and are now on their way into the second circle of hell, where hell really begins. It is here that Dante first witnesses the punishment brought upon the sinners. They encounter Minos, the beast-judge who blocks the way into the second circle. He examines each soul as they pass through and determines which circle of hell they must go to by winding his tail around himself. Minos warns Dante of passing through but Virgil silences him. Dante encounters a dark place completely sucked of any light and filled with noises more horrible than a tempest and sees the souls being whirled around in a
The Inferno is a tale of cautionary advice. In each circle, Dante the pilgrim speaks to one of the shades that reside there and the readers learn how and why the damned have become the damned. As Dante learns from the mistakes of the damned, so do the readers. And as Dante feels the impacts of human suffering, so do the readers. Virgil constantly encourages Dante the pilgrim to learn why the shades are in Hell and what were their transgressions while on Earth. This work’s purpose is to educate the reader. The work’s assertions on the nature of human suffering are mostly admonition, with each shade teaching Dante the pilgrim and by extension the reader not to make the same mistakes. Dante views his journey through hell as a learning experience and that is why he made it out alive.
Dante’s work Inferno is a vivid walkthrough the depths of hell and invokes much imagery, contemplation and feeling. Dante’s work beautifully constructs a full sensory depiction of hell and the souls he encounters along the journey. In many instances within the work the reader arrives at a crossroads for interpretation and discussion. Canto XI offers one such crux in which Dante asks the question of why there is a separation between the upper levels of hell and the lower levels of hell. By discussing the text, examining its implications and interpretations, conclusions can be drawn about why there is delineation between the upper and lower levels and the rationale behind the separation.
Robert Herrick, an English poet, once said, “Hell is no other but a soundlesse pit, where no one beame of comfort peeps in it.” Picture any type of Hell with relief, happiness, or even the smallest crack of a smile. There is no place. In fact, one can only think of the complete opposite, whether it is a Hell filled with neglect, pain, disgust, or a never-ending life of horror. This is the place created by Dante Alighieri; The Inferno is exactly the type of Hell where no person would want to be. Even those who acted upon the lightest of sins suffered greatly. While each realm contained a different sinner, the punishment that each were forced to face was cruel, repulsive, and sometimes rather disgusting. Through grieving tears without an
While love is not frequently mentioned in the poem the Inferno, it always has a presence on the back of the reader’s mind. The most surprising appearance of love comes at the gates of hell. This is where Dante learns that this place of punishment has been created from “Primal Love”. Dante displayed hell as being birthed from “the primal love”, or the Holy Spirit. Though those who do not believe the justice of eternal punishment are all less inclined to regard it as a byproduct of God’s love. In this essay I will reveal how hell is the result of God’s loving character, and how it was indeed created from love.
Inferno, the first part of Divina Commedia, or the Divine Comedy, by Dante Alighieri, is the story of a man's journey through Hell and the observance of punishments incurred as a result of the committance of sin. In all cases the severity of the punishment, and the punishment itself, has a direct correlation to the sin committed. The punishments are fitting in that they are symbolic of the actual sin; in other words, "They got what they wanted." (Literature of the Western World, p.1409) According to Dante, Hell has two divisions: Upper Hell, devoted to those who perpetrated sins of incontinence, and Lower Hell, devoted to those who perpetrated sins of malice. The
In Dante’s Inferno, Dante narrates his descent and observation of hell through the various circles and pouches. One part of this depiction is his descriptions of the various punishments that each of the different sinners has received. The various punishments that Dante envisions the sinners receiving are broken down into two types. The first type he borrows from various gruesome and cruel forms of torture and the second type, though often less physically agonizing, is Dante’s creative and imaginative punishment for sins. The borrowed torturous forms of punishments create a physical pain for the shades, whereas the creative punishments are used to inflict a mental and psychological suffering. However, it is possible for the creative
The theme of equilibrium between reason and faith is one of the core messages of Inferno and it is essential in conveying the main idea of the Divine Comedy and of the pilgrim’s journey that the exploitation of intellect and the misuse of will is the cause of sin, and that through faith, those who are morally lost find their salvation in God. In Inferno Dante makes it clear that he greatly values knowledge and reason in a way that is more characteristic to the Renaissance rather than of his own Medieval time. However, throughout this first book, the author reminds the audience of the Christian nature of his poem as he uses the stories of the sinners he encounters to stress the idea that without faith, the intellect is not sufficient to achieve divine salvation and that the misuse of reason can often lead to terrible sins.
As Dante explores the Second Circle of Hell, he is horrified by the punishments that the sinners must suffer through. When he hears the story of Francesca and Paolo’s lustful actions, Dante relates deeply to their stuggles because he reflects on his own sins and believes he may be cast to a similar fate in the afterlife. Dante reacts to the story when he says, “I fainted, as if I had met my death. / And then I fell as a dead body falls” (5.142-143). Dante faints from compassion for the two sinners’ pitiful story. Dante struggles to grasp the wrongdoing these people have participated in to be placed in Hell because he continues to search for the noble qualities in everyone. On the one hand, Dante believes God’s punishment for the lustful sinners, relentless winds and storms, is unethical. On the other hand, this belief is naive because it is known that all of God’s punishments are just. The lustful are condemned to an eternity in Hell because they did not care about their actions on Earth, so the raging storm that torments them is not concerned with what is in its path. Dante is not only attempting to discover the possible consequences of his own actions, but also learning to trust in God’s judgement.
Solely based on moral beliefs Dante's poem is obviously a deeply Christian standpoint. One might be surprised, then, to find that it is filled with allusions to pagan mythology and is populated not just by biblical figures, but also by characters of Greek and Roman myth and history. However taking place in hell on the evening of Good Friday through the morning of Easter Sunday in approximately the year 1300. The Inferno is an evil that is a contradiction to God's will; as most of the punishments of the sinners correspond symbolically to the sins they committed themselves. The walk through a dark and confusing world represents the life journey of men and women. Dante’s extensive literary treatment of death and afterlife aims to both comfort and warn; envisioning rewards for the
In The Inferno, Dante descends through the nine circles of Hell, encountering increasingly serious sins, most of which are crimes. The levels of Hell can be interpreted as a gradation of crimes, with penalties in proportion to their relative gravity of sin. While crimes are transgressions against human law, Dante’s Christian orthodox ambitions translate the treatment of these seemingly earthly crimes as sins, transgressions against divine law. For the purposes of this paper, the two terms can be used interchangeably because Dante’s perception of crimes on Earth is in parallel to the punishment of those crimes as sins in Hell. For Dante, the most punishable sins are those of betrayal. With a lucid examination of Dante’s political
Religious people always fear that they will not make it to Heaven or the place their God resides. The bible and other religious text give advice on how to avoid the pain of Hell. Dante Alighieri, a famous Italian poet, wrote about the physical description of Hell and the punishments each sinner would receive for their sins. Although The Divine Comedy chronicles Dante's journey from the depths of Hell to the glory of Heaven it contains a deeper meaning. Dante reveals the true meaning of the Inferno through his leading motif, his interactions between the sinners, and the intertwining of other literary works into the Inferno.
Dante had his fair share of the real human experience, whilst traveling through hell in Dante Alighieri’s “The Divine Comedy”. Characters in literature have been popularized since this masterpiece to favor sins as a type of personality trope. The lazy bum, the angry husband, or the prideful peacocks; the list goes on and on. The cause and effect of these traits have served well to teach generations of readers, the ideas and meanings of our actions as humans. Although it is rare, some works leave open ended plots for us to contemplate the meaning of said sin. In conjunction to some of the deadly sins, the main characters from “The Cask of Amontillado”, “The Veldt”, and “Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister”, all display a truth about human nature.