Western Heritage II
There are many different outlooks on “human nature”, what it consists of, what it brings out in people, or what it can cause people to do. In the Dante’s Inferno, Montaigne’s Essays, and Shakespeare’s The Tempest, there are many different views on human nature itself. In this paper, I will answer different questions that these books bring to the surface. What do all humans have in common? What motivates human choices and behavior? On what aspects of human nature do our authors seem to agree or disagree on? After reading these books, I believe that human nature lies within all humans. It is desire, it is something that motivates us; something that causes us to be selfish, and something that can be overcome when want it to be.
In Dante’s Inferno, Virgil leads Dante through all nine levels of Hell, where he meets and sees the punishments of thousands of people. Each one of these sinners has committed a certain crime, which is why they are at the circle of Hell that Dante finds them in. Some people are required to roll rocks up hills for the rest of time; others are forced to spend eternity under a frozen lake. What do all these humans have in common? Each one of these humans has lived a life where, unfortunately for them, they made the wrong decision. Human nature gives us desire, every soul that is now in Hell made their mistake because of desire. “Love, that can quickly seize the gentle heart, took hold of him because of the fair body taken from me- how that was done still wounds me. Love, that releases no beloved from loving, took hold of me so strongly through his beauty that, as you see, it has not left me yet. Love led the two of us unto one death.” (Lines 100-106) This was part of the story that Francesca, one of the damned souls in the second circle of Hell. She and her lover, Paolo, were both driven by the desire of one another to commit their crimes of adultery. Dante uses them because they were the...
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