In the eyes of Dante Alighieri, there were many types of sins, and some were stronger than others. He believed that each sin had to be punished according to its level of strength of the offense towards God. In his poem, the Inferno, Dante includes three major levels of sin. One of these major sins is violence. Somebody once said that, “Life is difficult and then you die.” In the 7th circle located in the second inner circle one of the violent sins are those violent against themselves, which, as one can see in this quote are those who commit suicide. Lower Hell is the City of Dis. In Inferno, Dis is mostly set aside for “intellectual sins rather than simple sins of passion” (Huse). “This place is where demons mob around” (Huse). In the Second Ring of the Seventh Circle of Hell, Virgil and Dante enter a strange wood which they describe as: When we had put ourselves within a wood that was not marked by any path whatever. Not foliage green, but of a dusky color, not branches smooth, but gnarled and interchanged, not apple-trees were there, but thorns with poison. Such tangled thickets have not, nor so dense. (XIII 4-5) As Dante and Virgil go further into the strange woods they hear many cries of suffering but cannot see the sinners that make the noises. The souls in this ring are those who were violent against themselves or their possessions which are called the Suicides and Squanderers that have been transformed into trees or bushes.
One of the residents that were crying out pains of suffering was Pier Della Vigne. The tree-soul, Pier Della Vigne tells them that in life he was an advisor to Emperor Frederick, moral, admirable man. Then jealous groups of men in the court started blackening his name with lies. As a result of his named being blackened, the Emperor turned against him, which destroyed his reputation, and put him in prison. Pier Della Vigne was so ashamed and “unable to accept his wretched fate that he brutally took his life by either smashing his...
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