History Other / Dante'S Life In Relation To His Writing
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Autor: anton 03 March 2011
Words: 968 | Pages: 4
Would you ever banish a person you greatly admire to the depths of Hell? Would you send the love of your life to Hell? Most people, including Dante would not. If we could imagine who would suffer most in the afterlife, it would hope it could be someone who hurt us or affected our lives in a very negative way. I believe Dante reflected on experiences of his life when describing the Inferno.
Beatrice, Virgin Mary, and St. Lucy are in Heaven. Dante had loved Beatrice since he was nine years old. Virgin Mary and St. Lucy were well respected, well known religious icons. These three women were placed in heaven because of Dante's emotions and beliefs. The first circle of Hell is Limbo. The un-baptized, good hearted people were in this level. This is the level Dante chose for Virgil. Virgil lived on Earth before Christ, therefore wasn't baptized and could not be placed in Heaven according to Dante's beliefs. Dante admired Virgil greatly and didn't want him to suffer, so he placed Virgil in the 1st circle.
The next four circles are designated to people whose sins affect themselves more than they affect others. Dante knows these people have sinned, but he has compassion for them. The second circle is for the lustful. Dante feels sorry for Francesca who cheated on her husband. He says, "Francesca, your suffering makes me weep for sorrow and pity," (Dante 43) Dante might be able to relate for the lustful because he loved Beatrice for many years without ever being with her. It is possible that Dante was lustful toward Beatrice. It is also possible that Dante was gluttonous. He had many hard times in his life in which he may have turned to food or drink to ease the pain. This could explain why Dante put the lustful and the gluttons in the outer circles of Hell. Most people want to believe their own sins are excusable or deserve less punishment. The fourth circle is designated for the spenders and hoarders. These could be good people who for some reason were acting inappropriately. The fifth circle is for the wrathful and sullen. It is likely that Dante was at some point in his life, wrathful of sullen. Dante uses this as the last circle of the upper parts of Hell. The sins for the first five circles are common sins that are committed by people in moments of weakness. Dante has possibly committed these sins which could explain why he feels some compassion for the people in these circles.
The sixth circle is the largest circle. It is for heretics. According to dictionary.com, a heretic is a person who holds controversial opinions, especially one who publicly dissents from the officially accepted dogma of the Roman Catholic Church. Dante was a Catholic person who obviously didn't approve of people going against the Catholic religion. He put these people in the sixth circle because their sins were not only affecting themselves; they were possibly having an impact on the religious views of others.
The seventh, eighth, and ninth circles are dedicated to people who have committed sins of violence, fraud, or betrayal. These sins are considered by Dante to be worse and result in a harsher punishment. The seventh circle is for violence. It has three separate rings. The first is for people who were violent toward others. Murder is a horrible sin, however, it is only the first ring of the seventh circle. Murder could be considered killing someone in war, or in a moment of weakness to defend what is right, it is not always premeditated evilness. The second ring is for people who have committed suicide. Suicide is not only murder, it is taking away the most precious gift God gave youÐ’â€¦you life. The third ring is for people who were violent toward God or nature. Dante, being a religious man, punishes people more for being violent toward God than for being violent toward another person. A person may have done something to provoke violence, but God is perfect and doesn't deserve violence or anger from any human. The eight circle is for seducers, hypocrites, false counselors, and others. These people live their life as a lie. Their entire existence revolves around being fraudulent rather than concentrating on God and religion. The ninth circle of Hell is for the betrayers. This is where Dante places the people who have affected him most. Dante feels betrayed by his hometown, Florence, for turning on him and banishing him. He may also feel betrayed by his wife because she didn't leave with him. These were the people he was most angry at when writing the Inferno, therefore, they are in the deepest parts of Hell.
Dante may have been going through a mid-life crisis when he wrote the Inferno. He was reflecting on past experience of his life, and categorizing people to the degree in which they affected him. Beatrice, who he had always loved, was in Heaven. The betrayers, of kin and country, were in the worst part of Hell. Sins that Dante may have committed were punished in the early circles of Hell, and sins of his enemies were punished without compassion. Dante may have used this writing to ease his pain during a hard time in his life.
Pinsky, Robert. The Inferno of Dante. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1994.
"Results for: Heretics." Dictionary.Com. 15 Apr. 2007 .
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