Often when one embarks on a Journey of self-discovery, they travel to places which astound one by their strangeness. Expecting to see what is straightforward and acceptable, one is suddenly presented with exceptions. Just as such self-examiners might encounter their inner demons, so does Dante, both as a character and a writer, as he sets out to walk through his Inferno. However, the Journey upon which Dante is embarking is not solely his, but rather that of every human being.
Hell exists to punish sin and the specific punishments awarded are suitable, as they testify to the divine perfection, which all sin violates. To modern readers, however, the torments that Dante and Virgil behold, on their journey through the circles of Hell, may seem harsh.
For example, homosexuals must endure an eternity of walking on hot sand and those who charge interest on loans must sit beneath a rainy storm of fire. These, like many of the sins that Dante punishes in the Inferno, are socially acceptable and common in the present world.
While many cultures do not accept homosexual relations, intolerance for this style of life has decreased dramatically in the past generation and by many, is no longer viewed as a sin against nature. Likewise, charging interest on loans is common in the commercialized business economies of the modern world.
A modern reader would not deem the punishments received by these sinners as appropriate. However, it is important to realize that Dante is writing during a period of great religious influence and obedience to theological ideals.
In addition, when the poem is viewed in its entirety, it becomes clear that the guiding principle behind these punishments is one of justice and balance.
The poem progresses from minor sins to major ones, as the duo proceeds deeper into the fires of Hell and closer to Lucifer himself. While some readers may object to the placements of some sins, the damned souls that reside in the deepest part of Hell, the 9th Circle, are neither a medieval nor modern view, but in fact, timeless.
Dante reserves the harshest punishments for those who have committed sins against those whom the sinner has special ties to, like family or friends. Despite the act, modern readers can agree that a traitor of this nature must be deservedly punished.
The reader must be wary of succumbing to the sympathy that Dante first shows towards some of the damned souls, as messengers from heaven show their lack of concern for the damned and eventually, Dante also becomes less inclined to pity the sinners, trusting the infinite wisdom of divine justice. It is assumed in Christian theology that God is divine and just and therefore, it is futile to question His judgments.
Everything about God is just; it is only in the mortal world of sin and death that one finds injustice, which is the mark of Cain on humanity. These characteristics may, however, elude the reader and thus, two figures from heaven descend into hell to remind Dante of his mission, indicating how the reader should perceive these sinners.
Despite these reminders, both the character of Dante and the reader fall victim to their human sympathy for many of the sinners in the earlier cantos. Throughout Canto III, Dante displays a great deal of sympathy for the souls he encounters; his depiction of Hell as a walled city conforms to medieval Catholic theology and exemplifies the religious awareness of the period.
Upon passing through the gates of Hell, Dante hears innumerable cries of torment and suffering. Subsequently, the indifference of these souls have caused both Heaven and Hell to deny them entry.
These souls now reside in the Ante-Inferno, within Hell yet not truly part of it, where they must chase constantly after a blank banner.
The empty banner symbolizes their meaningless existence on earth. Flies and wasps continually bite them, and writhing worms consume the blood and tears that flow from them.
The souls of the uncommitted are joined in this torment by the neutral angels — those who sided with neither God nor Satan in the war in Heaven. It seems unfair that by not succumbing to either good or evil, they must still endure punishment in the afterlife.
In this canto, Dante also describes Hell as being formed out of justice and also as a city: Dante portrays Hell as a city in large part because, to a thinker in the early fourteenth century, any substantial human population would have suggested a city. While Heaven is a city of God, Hell is a city of Man; as the damned souls have succumbed to temptation and sin, preoccupied only with self-preservation and gain.
This may be a more medieval idea, as cities were viewed as a source of evil and were enjoying a relatively new period of prosperity. However, crime in modern times is more prevalent in cities and thus, more citizens prefer to live in the suburbs.We will write a custom essay sample on God’s Divine Justice in Dante’s ‘Inferno'” specifically for you Order now We will write a custom essay sample on God’s Divine Justice in .
Essay on Divine Grace and Justice in Dante's Inferno - Divine Justice and Grace in Inferno The purpose of the pilgrim's journey through hell is to show, first hand, the divine justice of God and how Christian morality dictates how, and to .
Download-Theses Mercredi 10 juin Essay Dante Alighieri 's Inferno: The Divine Comedy Dante Alighieri’s Inferno, the first part of The Divine Comedy, narrates Dante’s journey through the circles of hell. The Pilgrim’s passage across the underworld is composed of various instances where souls pay for the unrepented sins they committed in .
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