Dante's Inferno: The Theme of Anti-love in Canto XXVIII Essay

Dante's Inferno: The Theme of Anti-love in Canto XXVIII Essay

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Dante’s Divine Comedy is a multi-layered epic, containing not only a story about his incredibly difficult journey from earth to the depths of hell then up to the peaks of heaven, but it also contains many insights on theology, politics, and even his own life. Broken into three canticles—Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso—the work is written in the terza rima form. In Inferno—in 33 Cantos—Dante makes a vast journey through the nine circles of hell. In the Eighth Circle (specifically, the Ninth Pouch), Dante meets with those who “were, when alive, the sowers of dissension” (Inf. XXVIII.35-36). Dante encounters a myriad of characters in many realms of interest, including theological and political figures.
This Canto adequately flows in the context of the rest of the work, but in order to understand why, the general trend of Inferno must be pointed out. The Bible states, “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love” (1 John 4:8, NIV). As Dante descends deeper into the realm of hell, he becomes closer to the center of the earth and farther away from God, or farther away from love. Each step down is a progressive step away from God. With Limbo, there are people who would love Christ if he existed; in the Second Circle, people are punished for love as a sin. But descend further, in the Eighth Circle, love is almost gone, for there are people who sin out of hate. Even in pouch one (where seducers reside), the love of person is still there. In pouch nine, the subject of Canto XXVIII, the people are sowers of schism and the scandalous—haters of someone else.
At this point, Dante and his guide Virgil have essentially trekked the entirety of hell, as they are currently in the eighth of nine circles and the second to last...

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...l of Achitophel, one of David’s advisors. The main difference between Bertran and Achitophel is that, while Bertran won, Achitophel lost. The punishment of Bertran is a worthy one: he is beheaded. The father is always seen as the head of the household, and when performing the holy cross after prayers, the head always represents the Father. By having Bertran beheaded, it symbolizes the separation between Father and son (The Godhead separated from the body of the Son).
The theme of anti-love is prominent in this Canto, as by this point, Dante is already so close to the end of hell that love seems non-existent. From this trend, there is one thing to learn: love God with all of your heart, as this will prevent you from being far from Him. If one cannot love God for some reason, at least love others; this way, you will at least end up in a better circle of Hell.

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