The Justification of the Inferno

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“Through me the way into the suffering city//Through me the way to the eternal pain, //Through me the way that runs among the lost.//Justice urged on my high artificer;//My maker was divine authority,//The highest wisdom, and the primal love.//Before me nothing but eternal things//were made, and I endure eternally.//Abandon every hope, who enter here.” Canto III 1-9

Venturing through the very depths of hell, Dante the pilgrim bears witness to the various consequences of the sins that humans have committed on earth. Sin, as defined in the bible is the deliberate disobedience to the will of God. These deliberate actions serve to disrupt the balance that is the guiding principle in the final judgment and all of hell. Although warped by Dante’s personal life experiences, hell in theory is just because it is based on the Bible and the essential teachings of God. Hell is organized according to Dante the writer’s perception of God’s teaching as well as his philosophical understanding of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics making it both just and logical, but it causes Dante the pilgrim to question the nature of punishment in many of these circles.

Hell is organized into three main sections, sins based in incontinence, violence and fraud. Sins of Incontinence make up the first five circles of hell, consisting of those who were unable to control their own desires, which results in them being controlled only by these emotions for the rest of their lives. Next are the sins of violence, consisting of the three levels of the seventh circle of hell, these sins are those of malice towards others, towards oneself, and towards God. Finally are the sins of fraud, based in the final two circles of hell, directly breaking a bond of trust between men. The eighth circle breaking bonds of trust between two acquaintances, while the ninth circle are filled with those that broke special bonds of trust while they were alive, with kin, countrymen and benefactors. One theme...
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