Dante's Inferno

Topics: Christianity, Divine Comedy, Suicide Pages: 8 (3332 words) Published: April 2, 2013
In Dante’s Inferno we read of the nine circles of Hell and why souls are put there based on Dante’s Christian view of their sins. There are people suffering in the cores of Hell due to lust, adultery, suicide, gluttony, greed, etc. Souls suffer as they grieve their contrapasso punishment for the atrocities they have done while in their bodies on Earth. They have been traitors to the word of God and now they are destined to spend their eternities in Hell where they constantly remember the sins they have caused against the bible, Christ and God. Though there are the souls in Limbo that suffer from never knowing the word of God. These souls in Limbo are those that were Pagans and the unbaptized infants. But now the question is why does Dante place these souls in these certain circles of Hell and how does he decide? Dante lived in a Midlevel time of Christianity and based his view on what his religion taught them. How does Dante’s view of Hell in his time compare to Christianity’s modern view of Hell. I myself being of the same religion, I have come to believe that everyone can be forgiven as long as they truly repent the sins they have committed. It is not if you commit one sin that you are doomed to live your life in Hell, but rather that if you ask for forgiveness and repent the right way you can still make your way to heaven. As we read through Dante’s Inferno we can clearly see that Dante does have harsh feeling for a few popes of his time such as Pope Boniface VIII. Dante was born and raised in Florence, Italy near mid or late 1200’s. Throughout his time, there were issues with politics in Florence. The Florentines ended up splitting into the Neri (Blacks) and Bianchi (Whites); Dante was a Bianchi (Hollander). The issue had been that the Whites wanted more freedom from the church, while the Blacks remained under the Pope Boniface VIII’s ruling. For a time the Whites were in power, but soon the Blacks took over. Whites later invaded the city and killed many of the enemies. A new leader was placed for the Blacks. This new leader then condemned Dante to exile from Florence for two years and heavy fine which he refused to pay; for this reason Dante was exiled for life (Hollander). Dante was outraged by this punishment, so when he wrote Inferno he placed many of the people who were against him in certain levels of hell, including Pope Boniface (Hollander). It does seem like Dante used this book as revenge against those who went against him or did not have the same beliefs as he did. Though he wrote this book keeping his religious views in mind, he himself also sinned by judging others and sending them into his imaginary Hell. As for people he did like he seemed to put in them in the circles closer to the surface of the Earth, such as the Roman poet Virgil who was Dante’s guide throughout Hell. In Dante’s mind, he was the God and he decided whether people would go to Heaven or if they would be tortured in the circle of Hell of his choosing. I wonder what circle of Hell Dante would be placed in for his judgment of others. As we examine the ways that Dante goes by judging people in the Inferno we can see that he is going by strict rules of religion and word of God. Dante starts his journey at age thirty-five, which is about his midlife point since people were expected to live no longer than seventy according to the bible. In comparison, Christ was also around this same age when he took the same journey to Hell and back. Also Dante starts his journey on Good Friday, goes through Holy Saturday and ends on Easter Sunday (Bullinger). His journey consists of going through the nine circles of Hell; nine being a significant number in religion because it marks the end (Bullinger). Since nine marks the final number of digits, it also is symbolic because Hell which as nine circles marks the end of life for sinners. I find it remarkable how Dante is able to incorporate a great amount of Christianity into his...

Citations: Alighieri, Dante and Gustave Dore. Inferno. Trans. Anthony, Esolen. New York: The Modern Library, 2005. Print
Bullinger, E. W. The Number Nine. The Bible Study Website. Web. 3 Dec. 2010. <http://biblestudy.org>.
Gilmour, Nathan. P. Dante 2008: The Inferno. Hardly the Last Word, 2008. Web. 5 Dec. 2010. <http://hardlylastword.com>.
Hollander, Robert. Princeton Dante Project. Princeton University, 1997. Web. 2 Dec. 2010. <http://bookteacher.org>.
What Does the Bible Say. Got Questions?Org, 2002. Web. 2 Dec. 2010. <http://gotquestions.org>.
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