Analysis of the 'Up on your Feet' Passage from Dante's Inferno, and How It Relates to the Overall Theme of the Book

Analysis of the 'Up on your Feet' Passage from Dante's Inferno, and How It Relates to the Overall Theme of the Book

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How can any person say for sure what life after death will be? It is the greatest mystery of human intellect so far. Man can only speculate about what will possibly happen after death. There are many different ideas that have appeared throughout the years. The Ancient Greeks believed in the underworld, where all souls went after death, and where they were watched over for eternity by Hades, or Pluto, god of the underworld. Before them, primitive people believed in gods of the Earth. After the time of the Greek Olympians passed came the time of Christian Doctrine, and the rise of the Roman Catholic Church. One text from this time gives reason to be a believer and gives reason for one to repent their sins. Dante’s Inferno has lasted the test of time, and though its writer didn’t necessarily believe this to be the true representation of Hell, he shows the world what his personal Hell would consist of. Throughout the text, Dante the Pilgrim is lead through Hell by one of the greatest poets the world has known, and Dante’s personal motivation for becoming a poet, Virgil. At one point, toward the end of their journey, when the pair reaches one of the lowest levels of Hell, Dante feels as if he can travel no more. He sinks to the ground in despair. This angers his guide, who reprimands Dante. The passage known as the “Up on Your Feet” passage is directly related to the overall theme of Dante’s Inferno, in several different ways.
Dante tires after traveling through nearly seven of the nine circles of Hell, and Virgil becomes angry and impatient; his words to Dante reflect the overall theme of the Inferno. “‘Up on your feet! This is not time to tire!’ my master cried.” (Pg.207 line 46) Dante has ventured a long way into the pits of hell. ...


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...to order and command my will, called to me.’” (Pg. 36 lines51-54) Virgil explains to Dante why he is to be guide through the underworld. So when Dante decides he is going to give up and venture no further into Hell, Virgil is angry. He doesn’t want Dante to waste the gift he has been given by one who loves him. “‘The man who lies asleep will never waken fame, and his desire and all his life drift past him like a dream, the traces of his memory fade from time like smoke in air, or ripples on a stream.’” (Pg.207 lines 47-51)
In review, Dante had to travel through Hell in order to save his soul from eternal damnation. His guide, Virgil, was not an angel, but was not technically in Hell either. He was in Limbo. He was sent to guide Dante by Beatrice, an angel of heaven who loved Dante. Dante’s straying from the path of righteousness set all of these events into motion.

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