Dante's Inferno: Consequence Of Sin In Modern Times

1319 words - 5 pages

For centuries, many humans have thrived on the idea of an everlasting salvation, in other words, Heaven. Several religions, including Christianity, use Heaven as an incentive to avoid sin and avidly follow God’s law. The idea of an everlasting salvation could not exist if there were not also the idea of eternal damnation. Because there is a reward for a person’s loyalty to God, the opposite must also be true; betraying God by committing sins will result in a soul’s eternal suffering in Hell. In the Inferno from the Divine Comedy Dante Alighieri uses symbols to emphasize the dangers of sin.
A person’s actions are a reflection of the society in which they live. Every day, humans are influenced by several outside factors such as music, television, and other humans. When a child is born, they are a blank canvas waiting to be painted, and society is the artist. Society evolves the way a person thinks, which in turn determines the way a person acts, because all human actions are driven by emotions. During the Medieval Ages, Christianity was the predominant religion of Rome. Religion, specifically Christianity, played a crucial role in the governing of medieval society. As a Roman, religion played a major role in Dante Alighieri’s life. His strong Christian beliefs influenced his literary work by altering his overall idea of sin, his decisions of whom to place in Hell, and each sinners corresponding punishment (Burge). Dante’s idea of sin is when a person acts against God. Those who are placed in Hell are those who commit acts that offend or betray God. Dante also places Brutus in Hell because as a Roman Dante loved Caesar, and the Roman people despised Brutus for his involvement in the murder of Julius Caesar. Although Brutus did not actually kill Caesar, he was one of the main conspirators and played a major role in the infamous assassination. After a human dies, Christians believe that their soul enters either Heaven or Hell. However, the reader can infer that Dante is Catholic because of his use of Purgatory, or Purgatorio. Purgatory is commonly known as the place of judgment, forgiveness, and purification. Although all Christians acknowledge the existence of Heaven and Hell, only Catholics accept the idea of Purgatory. William Jordan explains that, “During the Middle Ages, a few Christian sects rejected the idea of purgatory, and the issue was hotly debated at several church councils. Following the medieval period, the doctrine became a significant feature of the Roman Catholic tradition, although it was largely abandoned by Protestants” (“Purgatory, Idea of”). Although Purgatory is never explicitly stated in the Bible, its existence is still universally accepted (Cevetello). Dante is the only human to visit the three regions of immortal terrain: Heaven, Hell and Purgatory. Biologist Richard Dawkins claims, that Dante’s strong religious beliefs cause him to abandon all logical thought. However, writer James Burge responds to Dawkins by saying,...

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