He uses this opportunity to strike at his foes, placing them in the bowels of hell, saying that they have nothing to look forward to but the agony of suffering and the separation from God. Each contrapasso is well thought out and devised to try to show that each sin is different, yet equally punishable in the afterlife. The contrapassos, and therefore the circles of hell, are placed in manner of a sin’s severity, or at least in Dante’s eyes. Sins of the flesh, animalistic sins, and sins of passion are not as harshly punished as sins of reason, calculation, and cruelty. Dante believes that human reasons separates man from beast, and to abuse such a gift from God warrants an unimaginable pain.
Dante relates to the reader because he too chose sin over God, but finds redemption as the poem suggests the reader can also. The Inferno is a message to the readers of God’s punishment to sinners and that redemption is obtainable if they repent.
By denouncing a sinner, Argenti, for the first time, Dante has shown evidence of purification. Because denouncing a sinner is an acknowledgement of a sin, the sin is expelled. Thus, Dante purifies himself of being wrathful from his own soul by denouncing Argenti. Dante’s journey through the first five circles of hell has hardened Dante’s heart towards sinful men.
p37). This act of evil is another example of Augustine’s restlessness, for he was looking for understanding and clarity through defying divine law. This love of sin itself is a driving force towards God, Augustine writes, “There was time in my life when I was afire to take my fill to hell” (II.1.1, p33). Augustine later understands that by God allowing him to sin, it drew him closer in relationship with God by showing him that sinning does not produce fulfilment. He writes, “You were ever present to me, mercifully angry, sprinkling very bitter disappointment over all my unlawful pleasures so that I might seek pleasure free from all disappointment” (II.
He was a pious man whose own experiences in a corrupt society shaped his writing style and the symbolism he included in his stories. There are graphic details of each circle of hell by describing the appropriate judgement of each sin. In essence, the condemned are those who ignored with God’s laws and eluded His spirit. He describes the different realms of Hell and always descripts the emotions he is feeling in order for the reader to understand the severity of what he has witnessed. The comedy is supposed to symbolize the world we reside in; and Dante’s journey into the afterlife evaluates the human struggles when confronted with sin whether they conquer or succumb to it.
Dante, himself, is about to fall into the weaknesses of humans, before there is some divine intervention on the part of his love Beatrice, who is in heaven. He is sent on a journey to hell in order for Dante to see, smell, and hear hell. As we see this experience brings out Dante's weakness' of cowardice, wrath and unworthiness. He is lead by Virgil, who is a representation of intellect. Through Dante's experiences he will purge his sins.
In the vestibule of Hell, Dante come across the opportunists. They race round and round chasing a waving banner while constantly being stung with wasps and hornets that causes a constant flow of blood on the sinners’ bodies. Dante then encounters the sinners of limbo in circle one. Dante views these “virtuous pagans” as the least severe of the sins. “They did not worship God’s Trinity in fullest duty,” therefore the punishments for these sinners are that they have no hope (Dante, 28).
Many of the creatures in the depths of hell try to stop Dante from advancing, but are thwarted because Dante is guided by God and his loved ones. Several attempt to kill Dante themselves, but with no success. Virgil guides Dante through the dangers of hell once again. Dante witnesses the punishment that each sinner receives, and listens to their stories so that he may pass them on the world of the living. Each punishment corresponds to the sins that were committed on earth.
It is important to understand that Satan fully comprehends the sin he is about to commit as he is well aware of the consequences for his actions. He allows his pride to completely remove him from ever regaining his "former state", and so damns himself and the other fallen angels to the hell set aside for them. This idea of his last and lost chance to reconcile himself to the Divinity is seen when he declares "So farewell Hope… Farewell Remorse: all Good to me is lost". This demonstrates his complete sense of despair, and thereby, his complete rejection of both God and His love. When we look at Adam & Eve, we see what might be considered tragic "heroes" in the sense that they also knowingly doom themselves to be removed from Paradise, and subjected to the harsh, new world as well as death, and yet persevere with the hope for a better future.
He states that “There are those corrupt principles, in reigning power in them, and in full possession of them, that are seeds of hell fire” (196). He shows that every man has nothing but evil inside of him, and can do nothing to rid himself of it. All of this evil makes a man “as it were heavy as lead, and to tend downwards with great weight and pressure towards hell” (199). He also believes that man’s righteousness is weak, and anyone that relies on his good works to earn his way into a relationship with God is destined to fail. He says that all of the good deeds that a man could do would keep him out of hell just as much as “a spider's web would have to stop a falling rock” (199).