ENGL 111 Inferno

ENGL 111 Inferno - Brittany-Ann Mac Allister 27 November...

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Brittany-Ann Mac Allister 27 November 2007 Dante’s Inferno The Importance of Christianity in relation to Dante’s Inferno “Through me the way into the suffering city,/ Through me the way to the eternal pain,/ Through me the way that runs among the lost./ Justice on my high artificer;/ My maker was divine authority,/ The highest wisdom, and the primal love./ Before me nothing but eternal things/ were made, and I endure eternally./ Abandon every hope, who enter here.” 1 Dante, a strong believer in faith and God, makes an important point about reason in conflict with faith in his books, The Inferno and The Purgatorio. Throughout the novels, as in the inscription above from the gates of hell, Dante mentions a higher power that is full of “wisdom” and “love”. This strong belief in religion is also expressed in the quote above in the mention of the word “justice”. The tales are about souls who were sinners when they were on Earth and now suffer in hell and purgatory to pay for what they have done, and in this manner, each suffers a penalty that equally matches the sin in severity and manner. In the end, Virgil, who represents logic and reason throughout the journey, cannot continue without divine intervention. This demonstrates Dante’s belief that people cannot continue in this world on reason alone. In the end, they need to have faith in a higher being (i.e. God). Also, in The 1 Alighieri, Dante, The Inferno , ed. Allen Mandelbaum, III.1-9(New York: Bantam Classics, 1980).
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M a c A l l i s t e r | 2 Purgatorio, when the reader learns of God’s infinite mercy on souls who were not entirely evil, Dante reveals that although God is just and merciful, his punishments are far from gentle. In purgatory as opposed to hell, however, these punishments bring souls closer to God and for that, the souls are eternally happy and grateful. Already in Canto I of The Inferno , Dante makes a point about people’s lack of faith. When the character Dante tries to climb up the mountain and he finds the beast, he quickly runs away. Here, Dante as an author uses the mountain to represent the journey to heaven. The beast represents evil that blocks Dante from reaching heaven. Virgil then asks, “But why do you return to wretchedness? Why not climb up the mountain of delight, the origin and cause of every joy?” 2 Here Dante the author uses this incident to represent the fact that people are afraid to follow on the path of enlightenment because there are so many temptations that cause them to commit sin. They become afraid to do the right thing because of how it might look or what might happen to them. Sometimes people would rather do the wrong thing than stand up for what’s right. He is saying that people don’t have enough faith that things will turn out alright in the end, so they give in to their fears. Virgil then leads Dante the character through the gates of hell, where the depressing
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This note was uploaded on 04/07/2008 for the course ENGL 111 taught by Professor Matt during the Spring '08 term at UConn.

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ENGL 111 Inferno - Brittany-Ann Mac Allister 27 November...

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