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Free Humiliation & Punishment in Dantes World Essay Sample

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The main character, who is the author, interprets his life experiences as he looks at sin with its ugliness and punishment. Dante sees that in this life, the soul has strayed from the right path of God. He sees hell as a place for those who have turned away from the Almighty, and from heaven which is a preserve of the righteous. Dante also brings out the true characters of a deeply committed Christian and what is expected of them by God; that they should have a healthy relationship and follow all His commandments. Those who refuse to obey God's will and die without repenting their sins are forever doomed to suffer in hell. According to the author, salvation is the only way to escape this tragedy. To him, salvation comes from repenting and living according to God's expectations. The main theme that comes out from this story is that of punishment to the sinful people; that they will be shown no mercy.


This piece of writing also reflects on the reason for grading different sins, or crimes, committed against humanity. What comes out clearly is the concept that the gravity of a crime is rooted in "desert", that is, it depends on the state of mind of the individual who commits the crime, but not the harm that occurs. It shows how the magnitude of a crime is socially constructed. Dante depicts to us that sinners deserve to be punished differently depending on the weight of the sins they commit. He believes that those who deserve more punishment are those who betray other people's trust. He views such crime as being the most deliberate, and that which inflicts the most pain to the society. A good example of a person who belongs to this group is Judas who betrayed Jesus (Caldecott 26). On the contrary, contemporary laws state that crimes of betrayal deserve less punishment than violent crimes. This shows how the importance of trust in our modern society has been misconceived in the grading of crimes.

The inferno can be said to represent the way the soul of Christ sees sin for what it is. The beasts symbolize the three types of sin; those that people indulge themselves into, the violent ones and the malicious acts. These sins also make it possible for the three main divisions of Dante's Hell. First and foremost, the upper hell which comprises of the first 5 circles is for the self-indulged sinners. Secondly, circles 6 and 7 are for the violent sinners, while circles 8 and 9 are for the malicious sinners. In the text, Dante approaches a huge, mist-shrouded form; the three-headed Lucifer, who is rooted waist deep into ice. He is at the centre of the earth where God threw him down from heaven after sinning. Each of every Lucifer's mouth is symbolic. It represents the three great sinners: Judas who betrayed Christ, and Cassius and Brutus who betrayed Julius Caesar. After this fearful sight, Dante reaches Lethe, also known as the river of absentmindedness. They emerge form hell in the morning of Easter (Caldecott 32-40).

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The Inferno describes an imaginary expedition through hell, purgatory and heaven. Dante loses his way in the dark forest; this represents the blunder of sin. He then continues with his journey to the nine regions in hell which are arranged into nine concentric circles. His guide is the ghost of Virgil, the Roman poet, who represents human reasoning. Virgil has come to rescue Dante from the dark forest and guides him through the afterlife territory. They enter Limbo, the first circle which consists of the unbaptized and the heathen who led decent lives. Secondly, they pass through to the fifth circles which are full of the lustful, wrathful, the prodigal and the gluttonous individuals. The sixth circle has the heretics being punished. The punishment of the violent takes place in the seventh circle, while the eighth deals with those who are guilty of fraud. The ninth circle is for those who betrayed others. Satan is imprisoned in a frozen lake in the last section. Generally, the journey is hard and full of insight, disappointment and questions which have no answers, but they manage to go through successfully. Satan is seen iced up in hell and they are drawn towards paradise. They rise above the ugliness of sin in hell and proceed towards their final destination as they catch a glimpse of the stars shining in the heavens. Their journey commences on Good Friday and they surface from hell on Easter Sunday in the hemisphere of water at the bottom of Mount Purgatory. Later, he is led by his beloved Beatrice, whom he glorifies as being an angel and a symbol of divine love (Caldecott 45-66).

Dante shares his view on the nature of human existence. He shares his own experiences and the way he became acquainted with the cruelty and the evilness of people. He has used allegory to show the sins that are dangerous and punishable. The leopard stands out for lust; the lion represents pride, while the she-wolf is a symbol for greed. He also brings out hell as not such a good place to be. The mountain summit represents paradise and the dark gloomy woods represent sin here on earth. Virgil identifies with human reasoning because the power of the mind is the only thing that guides and prevents human from sinning.  Dante wants truth, intelligence, and love to prevail instead of wickedness. He says that people should not be tolerant to sin, and at the same time avoid pitying sinners because they deserve the suffering the same way they made other people suffer due to their actions here on earth.

The protagonist in this story becomes a hero due to the fact that he crosses from the known to the unknown. The known is the world that we live in, which is known to be very sinful and cruel to everyone. Many people have allowed their minds to be unpurified with various things like lust and greed for wealth. As such, they go ahead and inflict pain on innocent people so as to achieve their goals. On his way, Dante passes through various hurdles; he encounters them in hell as he was being shown around. Hell shows that the wicked has it as their destiny. It is not a pleasant place as we are told that Lucifer has been frozen in a lake. But Dante finally gets into heaven; the ultimate dwelling place for the righteous who will be rewarded for the good that they did here on earth. The protagonist then comes back to the world with the good news of repentance. He brings this news to his family and the people around. To conclude, Dante has portrayed a very disturbing picture about hell and Lucifer himself. Any reader would get the message that sin is very bad and repentance is the only way to escape the wrath of God. Satan and his flock have their own place in hell.

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