Dante Alighieri was a major Italian poet born in 1265 A.D know most famously for his Epic poem, the Devine Comedy. The Devine Comedy is a narration of Dante’s journey through Hell, purgatory and finally Heaven. Dante utilizes the notion of hell to encourage, admonish and warn his readers of the contrapasso of their sins, the different layers of hell, and famous leaders of his time. This essay is an exposition, interpretation and critical analysis of the 9 layers of Hell depicted in Dante’s epic, the Inferno.
To begin Dante’s trip to heaven to be with his one true love Beatrice, he must first travel through hell. Directly through the gates of hell is the outlying regions of Hell, or Ante-inferno. This is the area that houses those who did not commit to good or evil, but who lived their lives without making conscious moral choices. These souls have been denied by both heaven and hell. This does not mean Ante-inferno is much more pleasant than hell. Souls here must constantly chase after blank banners while flies and wasps constantly bite them and worms consume their blood and tears. Neutral angels do the tormenting in this place. These are the angels that did not choose God nor Satan in the war of heaven. This first punishment we see in our journey through hell sets the stage for punishments that fit the crime. We see souls having to chase a blank banner symbolizing the meaninglessness of their time on earth. In the afterlife wasps and flies are present to sting
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.
Since these souls lived their lives in a windstorm of emotions and feelings, their penalty represents the literal way in which they sinned. In addition to the punishments relating to the sins of the sinners, there are also punishments which contrast with the actions of the sinners and represent what the sinner was lacking in life. For example, the neutral souls were people who could not choose between good and evil during their life, being untouched by cares of religion and faith. As punishment in hell, they have to forever chase a blank banner in circles and are constantly stung by wasps and hornets. By taking no action on Earth in regards to their faith, they have to spend an eternity running after a banner with no hopes of catching it. And because they were untouched by cares, hornets and wasps symbolically sting them forever. The neutral souls' retribution was opposite of their sin, but most punishments represent the crimes in an ironic fashion. By choosing this method of eternal punishment, God is able to inflict the most pain on the souls in hell because they are constantly reminded of their sins at all times and are never able to escape the truth of what they did. This punishment closely resembles the eye-for-an-eye tactic preached in the Old Testament, but is done mainly to carry out perfect justice. Even the inscription above the gates of hell, "justice it was that moved my great creator" (89), suggests that the sole purpose of this place
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.
Dante’s divine comedy focuses on the journey of a Pilgrim by the name of Dante from Italy in which he travels through the circles of Hell, the terraces of Purgatory and the spheres of Paradise. Dante the Pilgrim has lived his life the wrong way, in a way that goes against how God would live life and through this journey the pilgrim hopes to find a way to return to the path he was once on: the right path. Throughout his journey he encounters numerous souls who have either been placed in Hell, in Purgatory or in Paradise. At first the Pilgrim felt sympathy and compassion towards the souls for the punishments they had to endure but those feelings soon went away as he continued on. He no longer felt sympathy or compassion but instead felt merciless and hatred towards the souls. It then becomes apparent that Dante the Pilgrim changed as a human being because the way he saw others changed, as well as how he saw life.
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
Dante is a poet who wrote an epic poem called The Divine Comedy. This epic poem is about Dante’s journey as he goes through 3 levels, which he calls Inferno, Purgatory and Paradise. In the Inferno, he meets Virgil, his guide throughout his voyage. They both pass through the nine circles of Hell, where they witness many different punishments for those who have done awful things in their past. Good versus evil is a major theme that occurred throughout Hell. In the Inferno, there are times where Dante sees good and evil and also represents it himself.
Many times while traveling through hell, Dante is found hanging back so he can talk to the souls about their punishments or he remains behind due to his pity and fear for the souls in hell. During these times Virgil has to repeatedly encourage Dante to stay on the path of the journey that they were intended to travel on. The fact that Vergil has to lead Dante along is, in a way, motivating Dante not to stray from the path of righteousness. The numerous stumbling blocks that threatened to interrupt Dante 's journey were not just physical barriers, “but can be seen as agents of hell that threaten to keep Dante from a pious life.” Dante 's deliberate journey toward heaven can also be looked at in contrast with the pointless wandering signified by to and fro movement of many condemned souls that were in hell. Theses souls have completely lost the path of righteousness and literally have no direction in the afterlife. In contrast, Dante has the ultimate goal of reaching heaven in front of him and a motivating force in Virgil, which gives a purpose and direction to his continuing journey.
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
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.
Often when we set out to journey in ourselves, we come to places that surprise us with their strangeness. Expecting to see what is straightforward and acceptable, we suddenly run across the exceptions. Just as we as self‹examiners might encounter our inner demons, so does Dante the writer as he sets out to walk through his Inferno. Dante explains his universe - in terms physical, political, and spiritual - in the Divine Comedy. He also gives his readers a glimpse into his own perception of what constitutes sin. By portraying characters in specific ways, Dante the writer can shape what Dante the pilgrim feels about each sinner. Also, the reader can look deeper in the text and examine the
Dante's `Divine Comedy', the account of his journey through hell, purgatory and heaven is one of the worlds great poems, and a prime example of a most splendidly realized integration of life with art. More than being merely great poetry, or a chronicle of contemporary events, which it also is, the `Comedy' is a study of human nature by a man quite experienced with it. The main argument I will make in this essay is that Dante's `Comedy' is chiefly a work of historical significance because in it lies the essence of human life across all boundaries of time and place. I feel that such a reading is justified, nay invited, by Dante himself when he says;
When you think of Hell, what do you see, perhaps a burning pit full of criminals and crazed souls? Or maybe you’re like Dante and have a well organized system of levels in correspondence with each person’s sins. In Dante Alighieri’s epic The Inferno, Dante and his real life hero, Virgil, go on an adventure through a rather elaborate version of Hell. In this version of Hell numerous thoughts and ideals are brought to the attention of the readers. Through Dante’s use of both imaginative and artistic concepts one can receive a great visual impression of how Dante truly views Hell, and by analyzing his religious and philosophical concepts the reader can connect with the work to better understand how rewarding this work was for the time period.
Around 1314, Dante Alighieri completed the Inferno, the first section of what would make up The Divine Comedy, a collection of three poems reflecting Dante’s imaginative journey through Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven. In these poems, Dante the poet describes the pilgrimage that Dante the pilgrim must complete to attain salvation. With the Roman poet Virgil as his guide, Dante the pilgrim must purge himself of his own sinful nature, which can only be achieved by observing and learning from those that have landed themselves in either Hell, Purgatory, or Heaven. Described in Inferno, his excursion begins in Hell where Dante learns about the stories and the sufferings of many sinners. As Dante the pilgrim progresses through Hell it is clear that he assumes different personas. In some instances, Dante the pilgrim is portrayed as an empathetic man who pities the sinners while on other occasions, Dante the pilgrim is portrayed as a callous and indignant being in regard to the sinners. While Dante the pilgrim is depicted in these two completely different ways, it is the insensitive portrayal that more precisely depicts Dante the pilgrim, as that is his true identity when he leaves Hell. His journey affected him so greatly that by the end of his pilgrimage, Dante the pilgrim has transformed from a compassionate man into an impervious and even cruel individual.