In “The Inferno,” by John Ciardi, the protagonist, Dante is about to enter a place of great suffering. Dante believes that God is the architect of Hell, and that Hell is the product of divine omnipotence, primordial love, and ultimate intellect. Throughout the Cantos, one can see how Dante’s picture of Hell does reflect the gate’s description of God’s sacred justice.
“I am the way into the city of woe. I am the way to a forsaken people. I am the way into eternal sorrow” (Canto 3, Line 1-3). In “The Inferno” Hell definitely has some relation to God’s justice, power, love and intelligence. Just from these three lines it shows that hell is a place for sinners being punished by God. By these individuals going to Hell, God is showing his justice that while on earth, they should have made a choice between sin and choosing God. However, while reading the Inferno one can draw the conclusion that there is a connection between one’s sin on Earth and the degree of torment/punishment they’ll experience in Hell, which exerts God’s justice. Dante’s picture of God is one that knows all, “The law of Dante’s Hell is the law of symbolic retribution. As they sinned so they are punished”(Canto 3). When Dante is in the Vestibule of Hell, he encounters The Opportunist. These were individuals who took no side, so they are given no place. Since God is the creator of Hell, he places them in a state of turmoil, “their sin was in darkness, so they move in darkness. As their own guilty conscience pursued them, so they are pursued by swarms of wasps and hornets” (17). Considering that they lived a morally “filthy” life. They now live for eternity through the filth of worms and maggots that feed off of them. Maggots and worms are often associated with filth, garbage and, or the dead. Since these people weren’t worthy enough of choosing a side. God being the product of divine omnipotence and ultimate intellect is essentially paying them back for only being for their selves, and...
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