Dante’s Inferno What Dante Gains By Going Through Hell The Inferno is a work full of imagery that describes the horrors of hell through the words of the author. What does Dante gain by all of this by taking himself through such an experience? I believe Dante gains three elements of life. The character Dante gains two of these and they are confidence and a clarification of his faith. The author Dante gains the last element, which is a release from his own personal hell of isolation. In the beginning, we see Dante as a somewhat scared and untrusting individual. He questions his worthiness and purpose several times.
As Virgil leads Dante though hell, Dante becomes less scared and more trusting of his guide. Dante never seems to become synthesized to the horrors of hell. He becomes more confident and less scared but not to the point where hell is no longer shocking to him. Dante allows himself to feel the emotions of the inhabitants of hell without accepting their behavior. This final point takes his confidence to a higher level. The faith of our character seems to be waning in the first canto.
He has to trust in his God and does not look to his God for support during the appearance of the three beasts. On the appearance of Virgil, Dante questions why the mother of God would find him worthy of a tour though hell. Dante claims he is not worthy of such an honor. Dante gains more faith by allowing himself to see how his god has structured the punishments of hell. As we read the cantos, Dante becomes less questioning and more accepting of the severity of the punishments. He moves from being questioning the inhabitants to kicking ones face near the end of the book.
I get the sense that Dante gains faith by seeing his god as a more righteous one at the end of the journey. So what has our author gained from this experience? The pain of isolation from family, friends, and country must be equal to anything punishment found in the Inferno. Family, friends, and country share a common thread. They are where we gain most of our sources of love and that warm feeling inside us. I think Dante expresses this by describing the pit of hell as a frozen lake.
This lack of contact with your sources of warmth and love must me emotionally wrecking for anyone. I think Dante uses such graphic descriptions and imagery to provoke similar feelings in us. Dante helps us understand his personal hell and this writing is the beginning of a way to escape his hell just as his character did. Kelli Koning IDS 171 Fear vs. Reason in Dantes Inferno Dante uses fear to communicate naivety. Every instance, excluding one, Virgil shows his commanding power of reason, teaching Dante that fear is weak and unholy.
Fear is based upon the ignorance of Gods power over evil, and throughout The Inferno Dante is constantly learning the true power of God which in the end displaces his fear with reason. Virgils role is to illustrate Gods omnipotent and controlling hand over all factors of hell. Virgil counteracts Dantes fear by either chiding him or approaching the object that is inspiring Dante with such dread nonchalantly. In each case Dante learns to overcome his fears of evil by trusting in Gods grace and control. Not understanding evil in the beginning of The Inferno, Dante is completely rattled by the fear of the three animals which are blocking his path.
There are six stanzas in the first Canto alone that are completely devoted to describing the fear that was consuming him. Virgil comes to guide Dante past these animals and takes him into the abyss of hell. The creatures of hell frighten him immensely but as he progresses through the different circles of hell his fears subside as his ignorance of evil sloughs off. As Dante comes to a conceptual and physical idea of Gods power this replaces his fear of evil. Dante seems to view fear as an absence of reason and reason is the knowledge of Gods power. Therefore, fear is an unholy attribute characteristic of someone who is not of accord with Christ and his message.
Dante must learn to replace his fear with reason in order to become capable of understanding God and acquiring reason. Through Virgils example and instruction Dante becomes more whole in his conception of God. Before going to deal with Malacoda, Virgil tells Dante, whatever violence you see done to me, you have no cause to fear. I know these matters. Thus Virgil reassures Dante that fear is unnecessary if you are armed with reason. Dante does indeed learn just how frivolous fear truly is. In comparison to the first Canto where Dante is filled with dread looking at three mere animals, Dante, in the last Canto, refutes his fear as he faces the Great Dis. There is only one stanza within the last Canto in which Dante expresses fear of Satan.
This in juxtaposition with the first Canto which contains no less than six stanzas expressing fear, the reader can compare the two in order to see how Dantes fear has been replaced with reason. In Canto XVII, Virgil senses Dantes fear of riding on the back of the beast Geryon, monster of fraud. He chides Dante telling him not to be undaunted. In Canto XXI, Virgil approaches the monsters without fear as Dante hides in the rocks. Kelli Koning IDS 171- Portfleet Dante is Every Human In the Inferno, the fictional Dante is seen as a very compassionate and sympathetic character.
His admiration and concern for people is very obvious in this book. When the fictional Dante encounters people in hell he seems to be taken aback by their stories. For instance, in Canto five, Dante enters the second circle and he sees all of the people that had abandoned themselves from the tempest of their passions. Among the many people Virgil identifies a few such as, Cleopatra, Helen, Achilles, Paris, Tristan, and most importantly Paolo, and Francesca. Seeing Francesca, Dante calls upon her to hear her story.
She tells her story as she cries, and Dante listens carefully: As she said this, the other spirit, who stood by her, wept so piteously, I felt my senses reel and faint away with anguish. I was swept by such a swoon as death is, and I fell, as a corpse might fall, to the dead floor of Hell. In those lines it is easy to understand his compassion and pity for the lovers. Dante looses all sensibility and is overwhelmed by their story. His admiration for the two seems untarnished by the fact that they are in hell.
It is as if Dante can relate to the forbidden lovers. In Canto fifteen, Dante encounters a former teacher, Ser Brunetto, whom he admires and respects a great deal. Oh my son! May it not displease you, if Brunetto Latino leave his company and turn and walk a little by your side. With all my soul I ask it. Or let us sit together, if it please him who is my guide and leads me through this pit. The love, respect and admiration that Dante feels for his teacher can be felt so strongly by his response to him.
Brunetto Latino is given the highest respect than any other person in the Inferno from Dante. His adoration for the teacher is almost unimaginable. In conclusion I feel that, Dantes compassion and love for these people makes him seem more realistic and human-like. His love is somewhat God-like, because he can be compassionate but also harsh. Dante becomes a character you can relate with when you see the compassionate side of him.
Instead of seeing Dante as a higher being, we can see him as a person like ourselves–a person we can relate to and identify with. All of us at one point can relate to the love, admiration, and respect that he holds for these people. Maybe it is because each of us has experienced love in all these forms. Love for a partner (Paolo and Francesca’s) can only be understood and sympathized with we ourselves have been in love and consequently can relate to it; if not, it would be impossible to significantly understand how Dante feels. In the case of the teacher, we can understand how Dante feels for this man only if we have met someone who has made such an impact on our lives, that it made us the people we are today.
Dante can best be appreciated when we see him through our own experiences. Then we can see him in a vaster light, making him very easy to identify with. Poetry Essays.