Dante’s Divine Comedy
The Divine Comedy by Dante Aligheri tells is a fictional story by Dante that takes the audience through the nine levels of hell. Dante believes that not all sins are equal with some sins deserving more punishment than others. Each person was also punished according to the individual’s sins in the world that were ironically given a punishment befitting individual sins. In the Inferno Dante takes the audience through the different punishments that were accorded to every sin from the gates of hell all the way to where he meets Lucifer and the greatest sinners of all. It is an individual account of what Dante believed and he managed to divide individual stages and sins according to his beliefs and attitudes towards others and Hell according to the examples given. Dante reckons the characters and people whom he met at every stage and is critical, happy or pitiful of the punishments that was accorded to each group. It is a proper record of the different beliefs and notions that Dante carried while living on earth. It can therefore be argued that Dante gives a confession since he identifies with the groups and has split the punishment and levels according to his own beliefs. It is an account of what can be expected when one goes to hell according to his own view. The views shared in the book are important in learning more about Dante and his beliefs and background as a person. This paper assesses how the journey through hell as foretold by Dante is a confession.
One of the attributes that comes out clearly from the journey is the position of Dante as a holy person and his belief to go to heaven. Dante sees the other people suffering as sinners and does not expect to face the same level of pain and sorrow in the years to come. Into the eternal darkness, into fire and into ice (Durling 39). Dante starts by reckoning that his journey through hell started when he was lost in the woods and was looking for a way to get out of the problems that he faced. Dante did not expect to be in such a compromising position initially and after he falls to the pit his wife sends a guide to show him the way. He clearly states that he is being guided out of Hell since his Wife and other Holy people were expecting him in heaven. He therefore confesses to being a Christian and believing in hell and heaven. He also confesses to believing in his holiness in comparison to the sins that are orchestrated by others.
Dante categorizes sins differently and expects each sinner to be judged according to the sins that they orchestrated in the world. Dante does not expect people to be met with the same level of suffering for their sins in hell. If the present world go astray, the cause is in you, in you it is to be sought (Durling 22). He therefore did not believe in eternal fire but in people facing the suffering that they deserved. Although Christians believed that people who went to hell would be punished in eternal fire no matter the sin Dante believed that this was not true. He believed that sins would be divided in different levels depending on the sin that was committed by each sinner in the world. The undecided, the pretenders, the astrologists, the hypocrites and the lustful would all be punished differently when they went to hell. According to Dante, sins were different so too punishment accorded to each sin had to be in tandem with the type of sin that each person committed. While he was going through the different levels of sinful people in hell he found himself identifying with each group and saw that the punishment that was accorded to each individual was deservedly given (Durling 53). Although there are different figures and monsters that have been highlighted to guard the different levels they are all aimed at ensuring that the necessary punishment was given to the people. This is an account of how he graded the sins that people were doing on earth. Although he believed all were sinners there were different punishments that befitted each sin that was orchestrated on earth.
In addition, Dante’s Divine comedy also highlights the sins of the world from the highest to the lowest level. All sins were equal in God’s eyes and that’s why all sinners were condemned to hell. However, the different levels highlighted the different sinful acts and the magnitude of the sin that each group orchestrated. Depending on the model that was established there was a difference between the sins of the people who were undecided and the sins of Lucifer. There are nine levels in hell according to Dante and each level had a magnitude of the types of sins that were orchestrated by people in each level. Dante divided the sins according to who he believed to be the most sinful to the least. However, the punishments as mentioned above were tailor made for each sin and were fitting of the sins that were given (Durling 44). It was possible to create a model that was targeted at developing the approach that was used to highlight and separate the sinners. This gives an indication of the reservations of Dante Aligheri in his life.
One of the most aspects that clearly highlights the story as a confession by Allegri is the difference between the punishment that was given to his friends and foes. He has a personal connection with some of the people in hell and goes ahead to identify with them. Although for some he felt pity for others he was happy to see the suffering that they faced. It is a story that was created by Dante to highlight what he believed had befallen all those who had wronged him, or he believed were sinners in the world. Dante is said to meet Francesca who is said to have lustfully cheated on his husband with the husband’s brother Paolo Da Rimini a relationship that had landed both in hell. Dante also meets one of his political enemies Filipo Argenti and watches in delight as the people choke in a cesspool where the wrathful spend eternity (Durling 73). He also denoted meeting Farinata who was also a political foe and is disheartened of meeting the suicidal people who were facing hell’s wrath for their crimes. He goes on to list all the people that he believed had committed different sins that were unfathomable to the point where he reaches Lucifer who has Judas Iscariot, Cassius and Brutus who were the betrayers of Julius Caesar (Durling 91). He has a personal connection or opinion with each of the people that he highlights in the book with their crimes befitting the punishment that was accorded to them. It is a record of his inclinations and beliefs about the people that he connected with and delivers a proper record of his beliefs about their actions. It is a record of his beliefs and inclinations about each of the people in the society whom he had read about or had personal encounters with. The well heeded well heard (Durling 31). His personal political opponents feature in the story to highlight about what he believed had befallen them after their death. It is a confession of what he believed about the society and the problems that people faced believing that they would later have to face hell after they had died.
In conclusion, Dante treated himself as special and had managed to go through his life unscathed by life’s sins. He however, pitied the people who had not changed their sinful ways and only proclaimed unimaginable doom for them after they died. Hell would be full of suffering and all people would account for their sins accordingly. Every person was given a chance to change while on earth but depending on the choices that one made they would have to suffer accordingly in hell. The poets and Virgil his guide who was also a poet was believed to be punished for their lack of knowledge. It is a confession of what he believed would befall the people in hell and he was sensitizing the people to take necessary steps to reprieve themselves while they still had time. It is a good account of the different lustful actions that have been perpetuated by people in the society and although there are no ranks they are all sins.
Durling, Robert M. The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri: Volume 1: Inferno: Ed. Ronald L. Martinez. Vol. 3. Oxford University Press, USA, 2010.