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Dante: Inferno - Essay Example

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The poem portrays the nine circles of Hell that host sinners according to the level and category of their sins. Dante sets up a very complex but seemingly fair relationship between sins committed and the punishment received…
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Dante: Inferno
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Download file to see previous pages Almost all members of the society may be represented in the circles he designed:
In terms of Dante’s Inferno, lawyers and judges are condemned to different fates
depending on the ‘circle of Hell’ in which they find themselves. Recall that in the
structure of Dante’s Hell, occupants of different levels suffer different punishment,
with relatively little suffering in the first circle of Hell, but significantly more suffering
in the lower circles; indeed, the suffering increases at each level in proportion to the
seriousness of the sin that is being punished. (Caudill)
His vision of Hell indicates a balanced proportion between the sin and the punishment which explains the separation of people into different circles depending on the degree of their crime. Dante portrays a very gloomy image of Hell that does not guarantee any hope for sinners. Even though the Christian belief offers sinners repentance and an eventual redemption, Dante proposes sinners a painful punishment that makes sinners pay for their sin a very hard way.
Unlike the Christian ideology that offers sinners a possible redemption, in Dante’s vision of Hell, each sinner is afflicted for all of eternity by the chief sin he committed (Wikipedia), and the punishment of the sin is appropriate to the sin committed. ...
Instead of simple redemption, they have to go through purgatory to be cleaned of their sins. Those in Hell are people who tried to justify their sins and are unrepentant. Basically, these sinners defy God by refusing to ask for forgiveness and repentance and are, therefore, punished for their arrogance and lack of judgment. As this statement informs: “Dante’s only explicit reason for this is that many have willingly embraced death in the hope of living hereafter, but of course an empty, yet natural life. Hope would also infringe the fundamental Aristotelian principle that nature does nothing in vain” (Stephen). In Dante’s vision, this hope may be vain since for him sinners have to pay either way—through purgatory or severe punishment. “Allegorically Inferno represents the Christian soul seeing sin for what it really is” (Wikipedia), so even though the punishment seems to be very severe a Christian soul understands that sinners who refuse to repent deserve to be punished accordingly. Even though Dante does not follow exactly the way Hell is described in the Bible, he got the inspiration from there because many of the images he uses are somewhat similar to that description: “In Hell, the lost souls are arranged in three main groups and occupy nine circles; Purgatory is divided into an Ante-Purgatory, seven terraces, and the Earthly Paradise, for a total of nine locations” (Lawall 1458). So Dante got his nine circles from the real Paradise even if he uses his imagination to complete the rest. The speaker’s attempt to gain access to the sunny hill is blocked by three ferocious beasts: “The three beasts in the poem represent ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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