The Background And Interpretation Of Dante S — страница 2

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Plato, Virgil and Homer. There is much more to Dante s Hell than a mere tour. He goes into more depth by working it out in accordance of the Divine plan. A book cannot be written in the Middle Ages without fitting it into the divine scheme of things. To get this divine plan across, Dante uses an allegorical approach. Dante uses characters to try and get across moral and ethical views. As he travels through the circles of Hell he stops for a bit and talks to some of the damned souls. Through their speech he attempts to show what not to do in life, so that you may avoid the punishment that befell the damned characters. The characters he choose to profess his moral views were not fictional, far from it in fact. Dante used this opportunity to unleash his bitterness upon those that he

believed had done him wrong in life. It seems that the one person that he particularly liked to bring up was Pope Boniface VIII. He was partly responsible for Dante s exile from Florence, and underwent some of the harshest torment in all of Hell. He shows this in the eighth circle of Hell. This is where corrupt clergymen lie. His punishment is to be stuck head first into a flaming hole in the ground which he shares with other indecent and corrupt popes. Dante stops here and speaks to pope Nicholas III. Nicholas mistakes Dante for Boniface, who is to take his place and push him further into the hole. He then says to Dante that Boniface is soon to be damned and rotting away in Hell for his sinfulness. Symbolism is another one of Dante s unique writing techniques. To illustrate

this, we need to look no further than the fifth paragraph of this report, where the first scene is described. When the scene is stripped down leaving only symbolism, it goes something like this: the hero Dante strayed away from the way of God into a mental state devoid of his light. He realizes that he needs to get on to the right pat, but as he tries to get back, carnal sins get into his way, represented by the leopard. He manages to escape from the power of those sins, only to be stopped by the sins of incontinence represented by the lion. Again he manages to escape, but is then confronted by the sins of fraud. He is unable to break free of them so St. Lucy sends Virgil (who represents reason) to guide Dante through Hell, Purgatory and Heaven. The above example clearly shows

Dante s use of symbolism in his writing technique. This type of symbolism is displayed throughout the Divine Comedy. Most commonly the symbols that Dante chooses to use are that of Ancient Greek mythology. An example is Minos, who in Greek Mythology was the judge of human souls in the afterlife. Dante places him in the first circle of Hell to judge where the damned are to be placed. Dante shows a very ironic view of the punishment of the punishments in Hell. In most of the circles the punishment found there is very symbolic of the crime itself. Through this Dante s concept of divine judgement is shown. The damned are forced to face the true nature of their sin, though a bit exaggerated, and painfully endure this for eternity. For example, the punishment for the lustful is that

they are destined to be swept and tormented by a harsh wind that blows them around like dry leaves. This punishment is symbolic of the act of lust because people who engage in it allow themselves to be swept away by their sexual pleasures just as easily as the wind sweeps them away for eternity, and punished to endure this forever. In the case of thieves, they run around in a pit filled with venomous snakes. When the snakes bite them their forms turn to ashes then in time they gain their form only be bitten over and over again. The question is though, how does this relate to the act of stealing? A thief steals from people what is rightfully theirs without their permission. The thieves are now placed in the place of the victim, but instead of losing possessions they loose their

physical form over and over again. Dante also tries to follow the Old Testament view of Hell, succumbing to the eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth bit, that basically states equal punishment for the crime. An excellent example of this is in the Malebolge for the diviners. These are people who believed that they could see into the future. Some might say that this is a crime hardly worth going to Hell over, but Dante is not one of these. In his view for them to think that they have this ability is arrogant and proud since only God has that ability. Since they spent their lives attempting to look ahead of time, they are sentenced to do the opposite. Their bodies are twisted backwards at the spine and they are forced to walk backwards for eternity. Inferno, and The Divine Comedy as a