St. Augustine 's Confessions And Dante 's Inferno

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In St. Augustine’s Confessions and Dante’s Inferno, the central characters in their respective narratives are presented a message from which induces distinct reactions. More importantly, their reactions are reflections of their perspective concerning the Christian outlook towards life and passion.

In Book VIII.xi (29) the reader finds St. Augustine in a state of despair and anguish because of his ongoing internal struggle between his mind and body. Afterwards, he undergoes a surreal experience that ultimately leads to the climax of Confessions, his conversion to Christianity.

The catalyst for his conversion rests upon none other than “a boy or a girl” who might be chanting, per St. Augustine, “some sort of children’s game”(152). The
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St. Augustine may be referencing the contrast of his experience to that of Noah’s by mentioning “flood”. While Noah immediately obeyed the given detailed instructions, St. Augustine is given four words, yet he delays action as he reflects on the example of Antony, the “father” of all monks, for guidance. Even though he delays taking action, the mention of the adverb “solely” suggest that St. Augustine does take the choice to perceive, with no reserves, the message as divine. He could have merely attributed the command as the nursery rhyme, but he did not. Instead, he shows faith and belief that Noah would not have to demonstrate as the latter directly hears the voice of God.

After he reads Romans 13:13-14, St. Augustine “neither wished nor needed to read further…All the shadows of doubt were dispelled.” The conclusion is a four-lined passage which serves as the conclusion of this intense and surreal experience. Once St. Augustine finally converts, the complexities of his troubles seemingly dissipate. The reader is left with the understanding that all of St. Augustine’s troubles (“the shadows of doubt”) could have easily been resolved had he been more simple-minded by having had faith (“the light of relief”) earlier in his life. In Dante’s Inferno, the reader witnesses Dante undergo his journey through the nine circles
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