In the beginning of Canto III, Dante and Virgil are about to enter Hell itself. Dante is hesitant about the odyssey ahead because of the cryptic message inscribed on the Gates of Hell. As Dante voyages across the circles of Hell, the different circles show Dante that justice was the main concern for each Circle. Consequently, justice is seen as a prevalent theme throughout the Cantos in the Inferno.
As Dante proceeds to enter the vestibule that leads to Hell, he recognizes the inscription above the gate. “I AM THE WAY INTO THE DOLEFUL CITY,
I AM THE WAY INTO ETERNAL GRIEF,
I AM THE WAY TO A FORSAKEN RACE.
JUSTICE IT WAS THAT MOVED MY GREAT CREATOR;
DIVING OMNIPOTENCE CREATED ME,
AND HIGHEST WISDOM JOINED WITH PRIMAL LOVE.
BEFORE ME NOTHING BUT ETERNAL THINGS
WERE MADE, AND I SHALL LAST ETERNALLY.
ABANDON EVERY HOPE, ALL YOU WHO ENTER”(Inferno-III 1-9).
The inscription on the gate is signifies that God created Hell as an act of justice for all those that sinned during their time on Earth. Although God created Hell as an act of retribution for the sinners, the cruel and unusual nature of the sinner’s punishments spring from God’s primal love and wisdom. The basis of every punishment that God imposes is based on the nature of the sin. For every sin justice must be served because if there were no justice, those who sinned would go unpunished and would be raised into Heaven after death to be with God. If the sinners made it to Heaven instead of going to Hell, it would contradict the creation and sole purpose of Hell. The purpose of the Dante’s journey through hell is to witness the perfection of God’s justice, and also to cause a self-realization to not commit sins after witnessing the repercussions. As Dante enters through the gates of Hell, he hears various cries and shrieks of anguish “raising a whirling storm that turns itself forever through that air of endless black”(Inferno-III 28-30). Virgil explains that these souls...
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