Why This Fascination with Dante

Why This Fascination with Dante - significant work such as...

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Why This Fascination with Dante’s Hell? For every individual, the view of and purpose of Hell varies. In most religious and cultural traditions, hell is a place of eternal damnation, suffering and punishment in the afterlife. Typically, these traditions locate hell under Earth’s external surface, and also include other afterlife destinations such as Heaven/Paradise/Nirvana, Purgatory, and Limbo. Hell is often portrayed as a state of loss, fiery torture and populated with demons that torment the damned, in addition to the Devil. With this broad idea of hell in mind, it is curious why our modern Western culture still is fascinated with Dante’s description of Hell, which was written in the early 1300’s. Dante’s Divine Comedy is one of the most important pieces of classical literature as Dante was one of the first poets to describe Hell, Purgatory and Heaven in detail concerning their structure, specific torments and rewards. As Christianity is the most influential religion in the world, a
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Unformatted text preview: significant work such as this was and is important by association. In addition, it is a classic piece of Bangsian literature and of a hero’s journey. However, curiously, it is not only scholars that are fascinated by Dante’s description of hell, but the entire Western culture; video games and movies have been based on Dante’s first cantica. The Western culture is fascinated with Dante’s Inferno for 1) it is a satisfactory description of hell, more so that Virgil’s Aeneid, in terms of clarity, justice and reasoning and 2) the sins punished in Dante’s hell are relevant to the contemporary reader. “Research shows that while almost three out of four people believe in heaven, less than half believe in hell.” (Groeschel, 199) “When it comes to death and eternity, it’s human nature to hope for the best and avoid contemplating the worst.”...
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This note was uploaded on 10/30/2011 for the course ITALIAN 333 taught by Professor Cornish during the Fall '11 term at University of Michigan.

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