The Meaning of Life Through Death
Dante’s Inferno represents a soul’s journey towards God and the struggle between doing what is morally right as opposed to fulfilling one’s desires. Dante confronts many characters who have done wrong in their life to end up in Hell. Some of these sinners are in Hell because of their sin of violence, either towards themselves or others; or their sin of fraud, either by being a hypocrite or committing theft. As a result of his journey through Hell, Dante realizes that to disobey God’s guidance and moral code is to be faced with severe consequences that last an eternity.
Dante’s journey takes him through the seventh circle of Hell which possesses rings of violent sinners. The first ring contains the sinners who are violent towards themselves. Dante encounters a sinner who said, “We too shall come like the rest, each one to get/ His cast-off body – but not for us to dwell/ Within again, for justice must forbid/ Having what one has robbed oneself of” (105. Line 96-99). This demonstrates the individuals in this ring have committed the sin of violence against themselves. By taking their own life they revealed that they have no appreciation for the gift of their own life that God had provided them with. The punishment for these sinners is to be turned into trees and to be immobile, thus denying them the right to take the form of a human. Since these sinners self destructed, they are only allowed to speak when they are being attacked and destroyed by the Harpies. God’s message to these sinners is that one should respect God’s gift of life that he gave to them or in the afterlife they will not be given the form of a human since they took away their own lives. After discovering this message, Dante travels to the second ring of the seventh circle that contains sinners who are violent towards others. It is revealed to Dante what this ring contains, when Virgil (his guide) said, “But keep your eyes below us, for coming near/ Is the river...
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