Dante’s Inferno

Dante’s inferno depicts the divine justice of God as a deserved punishment for the sins committed in life, representative of the immoral path chosen by humans.  Among the hidden lessons taught to Dante, an individual’s chosen path cannot be undecided.  Rather the mind has to be determined to be faithful to the moral laws, described in the comedy, that for Dante were a representation of the Christian path.  For example, at the beginning of Dante’s journey through hell, he saw a group of souls that were constantly stung by hornets, because they refused to make a choice of whether to follow God path or not, including in this group were the fallen Angels who did not took a side, God or lucifer, when lucifer was exiled from heaven.  Second, any deviations or infractions to the “Christian’ laws were condemned, and ignorance does not exonerated the individual, even if they lived virtuously.  This can be seen in the Limbo, where the people that lived in the times before Christ resided.  Although, not tortured physically, they were tortured emotionally, regretting the missed opportunity of getting to know Christianity.  A third depicted message, was that even if a soul committed multiple sins, punishments were specific for the most nurtured sin by each soul.  This message was characterized by Minos, the judge of the underworld, who discerned each individual’s soul and sentenced it to a particular circle of hell, where the souls were grouped by the worst sin committed.  This take us to a fourth lesson, sins and punishments were categorized, with the most painful and gruesome punishments for the most severely sins, starting hell with the least severe and finishing with the worst sin, which was treachery to God (Judas).  The sins were grouped as follows, with the symbol of less than (<) meaning less severe than, in this case:  limbo<lust<gluttony<greed<wrath< heresy<violence<fraud<treachery.  Some of the circles were also subclassified.  Fifth, each punishment seemed to be resembling the characteristics of the sin itself or portraying a suffering contrary to the luxury of the sin.  For example, flatterers deceived people with their words and took advantage of them (fraud), so they are fed excrement, since their words meant crap.  Finally, souls are punished for eternity.  At the end, when Dante climbed back to the world of the living, the first thing he described is the sky with the stars, which to me it indicated that Dante believed that everything he saw in hell was a representation of God’s just order, and a reminder that we are God’s creation.

In my opinion, every person has committed one of  the sins portrayed in Dante’s hell.  The epic piece does not really indicate or represent to what extent a sin is considered punishable by hell.  For example a person can deceive a criminal to save their children.  I do not see Dante’s hell as an ideal representation of God’s justice, since justice takes in consideration not only an immoral act in itself, but also the consequences associated with the action, as well as the intentions or motive of such actions.  Also, justice has equality and mercy to some degree.  There is nothing merciful in condemning people from the times before Christ because they were ignorant.  It would be like condemning a blind because they could not see.  The bible offers numerous stories for which God has forgiven sinful people.  Among this ones, the famous king David.  I do not believe God only sees mere acts, the intentions of the heart is a phrase commonly emphasized in the bible.  I think Dante’s hell was more a representation of the political-religious traditional believes from his culture in his times.

2 thoughts on “Dante’s Inferno

  1. sbutler12

    I really enjoyed your comment when you said the Hell in Dante’s story was more of a “political-religious” belief than anything. I completely agree with this statement. Yes, I do agree with the ideas of sin outlined in the story but I know that God forgives those who sin as long as they accept him into their lives.

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  2. sehoyos

    Judas really is the a perfect example of why fraud would be considered worse than violence. Christian teachings really emphasize loving one another like brothers, so an instance where you are portraying love to someone while planning on betraying them completely tarnishes that teaching of love.

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