The truth about the soul of man and his justice after death can be debated among all types of religions ranging from Hinduism to Christianity. However, in Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy: Inferno, the author takes the liberty of unveiling a different and extremely intricate view of one of the greatest questions of humanity: the existence of an afterlife and the consequences of our lives on earth. The Holy Bible explains how man should live his life and the results of it. The Divine Comedy: Inferno reiterates that doctrine as well, yet it is different in its view of divine judgment and also promotes another viewpoint for Christian readers about the eternal justice of God.
This Comedy is a work that displays the many facets of Hell that one would not be able to extract from simply reading the Holy Bible; it also provides plausible explanations for aspects of the Bible that are somewhat ambiguous. For example, when one contemplates the possible fates of infants and people who die without ever knowing God, you have to wonder if they still suffer eternal damnation of fire and brimstone, which is a result normally projected for those who do go to Hell. This thought, however, can be clarified when Dante describes what exactly happens to such people, “……..The sighs rose from sorrow without torments out of the crowds of infants, women and men…………they did not sin and yet they did not have merits, that’s not enough, because they lacked the baptism, the portal of faith that you embrace, and if they lived before Christianity, they did not worship God in fitting ways” (Alighieri 1313).
... God, but is just different from what people would imagine as the home or throne of God.The Divine Comedy ... are not many references to Purgatory in the Bible. The allusion used by Dante is clear in ... good. Throughout the poem, Dante is advocating that man must consciously aim for righteousness and morality.People can ... quest for holiness. The story is of one man's journey to heaven through the perils of ...
This particular phrase uncovers the uncertainty of what happens to souls in that situation, whereas in the Bible Christian readers would still be left to ponder. The Bible being a figurative text is direct and indirect with the messages it delivers, and therefore leaves readers a bit perplexed. However, the obscurity of the Bible may possibly have been created that way in order to make man actually think about life and what it encompasses instead of just drifting through it. God blessed mankind with ability to learn and acquire knowledge, if he gave man a straightforward mandate displaying what we need to do to attain divine justice, then there wouldn’t be room for thought. Dante possibly took the liberty of addressing such intricacy in this epic in order to make people think as well, or to give people a sense of assurance or rationale. In so doing this he could be emphasizing the fact that man always needs a logical reason for the unexplainable, we just can’t except things for what they are. Man is always on a perpetual search for why and what happens in life and even beyond it.
Another example of the different aspects of Hell is when Dante encounters Satan and his frozen realm, “……we passed beyond where frozen water wraps a rugged covering, still other sinners who were not bent, but flat upon their backs, their very weeping there won’t let them weep………because their very tears freeze into a cluster and like a crystal visor, fill up all the hollow that is under the eyebrow, and though my every sense had left its dwelling in my face , just as a callus has no feeling, nonetheless” (Alighieri 1404).
Appropriately, the most carnal location in Hell is where Satan resides and carnality deals with earthly desires and appetites of the flesh and not the spirit. Satan being a creature with the least amount of spirit or vitality would be considered spiritually dead. Therefore, those souls who are furthest from pure spirituality and immateriality are practically frozen, because they closely parallel with those characteristics of Lucifer. This quote primarily gives the reader a better and more knowledgeable understanding of Satan himself. It also shows that there are different levels in Hell according to levels of evil. Therefore, the worst evil is associated with Satan who is at the core of Hades, and the lesser evil is located further way from the presence of Satan.
The family reunion that takes place with Satan, Sin and Death foreshadows the fall of man. Sin and Death are personifications against broken heavenly laws: narcissism, incest and lust. Satan becomes enamored by his own creation because he sees himself in her image; '... who full oft/Thyself in me thy perfect image... .' ll. 763-764. However, he goes on to commit two other sins as he lusts and goes ...
Just as Dante discloses the several levels of Hell, he also promotes a more in-depth and detailed interpretation of the multitudinous levels of sin. An example is the account of Francesca and Paolo in canto five, “…….we were alone and we suspected nothing, and time and time again that reading led our eyes to meet and made our faces pale, and yet one point alone defeated us, when we read how the desired smile was kissed by one who was so true a lover, this one who shall never be parted from me while all his body trembled, kissed my mouth……that day we read no more” (Alighieri 1318).
The lovers are punished because they committed adultery and the winds that blow against them are a symbol of the internal gusts of desire that motivated them to indulge in such acts. Now, these two lovers do suffer punishment whereas it is nowhere as severe as the punishment of Judas, Brutus, or Cassius for example, who all dwell in the darkest, coldest pit of Hell. “That soul up there who has to suffer the most my master said: “Judas Iscariot-his head inside, he jerks his legs without, of those two others, with their heads beneath, the one who hangs from that black snout is Brutus, see how he writhes and does not say a word, that other who seems to be so robust is Cassius…..” (Alighieri 1407).
Here in this quote is a demonstration of the epitome of ultimate torment, primarily because these three mortals were the arch traitors of the classical world. The two aforementioned examples show the various degrees of sin, and the punishment for each type of sin. Whereas, the Holy Bible acknowledges the different types of sin, but does not categorize the various degrees of sin into specific degrees of punishment as Dante does. Dante’s outlook on the categorization of sin possibly shows that one type of sin is not equal to all types of sin. It displays the fact that maybe a human shouldn’t be punished for minor sins equally to the way a human who commits a major sin, such as a person who cheats all of their life verses a serial killer who kills their entire life.
The ability to be exposed and aware of such details about Hell enables man to come to a true understanding of the nature of sin. In reading Dante’s The Divine Comedy: Inferno, I came to a far more better comprehension of how Hell and Sin is oriented, and if there even was a Purgatory. However, when I read the Bible I was somewhat confused. Even though the divine comedy is a work of fiction and holds no true basis to be used in a religious context, it does help to sort out plausible explanations for aspects of the Bible. Now, Christian readers such as myself can understand that the punishment of sin is the sin itself, as displayed in The Inferno, and in order to arrive at the Divine Light, it is necessary first to recognize the true nature of sin, renounce it, and then do penance for it. The Divine Comedy is a universal work that serves as a text for the spiritual development, and any man, Christian or non-Christian truly benefits from it.
Sin " Religion today is too often merely the worship of guilt, an obsession with sin and an exercise in the rubrics of repentance" (Every) 1. Such is the case of all sin, including the adultery of Hester Prynne, the main character in Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter. The novel takes place in the Massachusetts Bay Colony from 1642-1649 during an era of strict religion under Puritan watch. Hester ...
Lawall, Sarah, and Maynard Mack, eds. The Norton Anthology of World Masterpieces.
Vol 1. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1999.