The Divine Comedy, Dante's Inferno Canto III brings readers face to face to the beginning of the end. Canto III, the exposition, brings us to the "Gates of Hell". Not many people desire to gaze upon these gates engulfed with pure-evil and encased with treacherous lands. As they exhume deeper, and deeper into the darker regions of the "underworld" they will open their eyes to what is, rather than what was. The Inferno. That is what lies ahead for Virgil and Dante. Canto III of Dante's Inferno delivers a powerful main idea which supports the personified "Hell" that Dante and Virgil journey into.
Main Idea, the most important information that tells more about the overall idea of a paragraph, story, or section of a text. Canto III has a very elaborate main idea. To begin with, we find ourselves with Dante and Virgil reaching the gates of Hell. Once inside, Dante says, "Master, what is that I hear? Who are / those people so defeated by their pain?" (Mandelbaum 32-33). Dante and Virgil are in the anti-inferno, a place which resides within Hell, but is not a part of it. Virgil describes the "anti-inferno" and the obscure noises that Dante hears:
This miserable way / is taken by the sorry souls of those / who lived without disgrace and without praise. / They now commingle with the coward angles, / the company of those who were not rebels / nor faithful to their God, but stood apart. / The heavens, that their beauty not be lessened, / have cast them out, nor will deep Hell receive them / even the wicked cannot glory in them. (Mandelbaum 34-42)
Dante and Virgil are face to face with the "sorry souls of those / who lived without disgrace and without praise." (Mandelbaum 35-36). Therefore, when these "non-believers" die they venture out here. Due to, their negligence to choose between right and wrong, good and evil, they are all damned to wander the wasps infected chambers for all time. Neither Heaven nor Hell wants them. They are at the mercy of the "Anti-Inferno". Obviously, Dante and Virgil have come across an un-imaginable place, but what lies ahead, is raging in blood and fire.
When we first lay our eyes on Canto III we read it, scratch our head, and say, "what does that word mean? Who are they talking about?" When that moment of Figurative-Amnesia occurs, you have just stumbled upon personification, and diction. Dante's Inferno Canto III if loaded to the brim with both. As evidence, gaze upon the opening of Canto III:
THROUGH ME THE WAY INTO THE SUFFERING CITY, / THROUGH ME INTO THE ETERNAL PAIN, / THROUGH ME THE WAY THAT RUNS AMONG THE LOST. / JUSTICE URGED ON MY HIGH ARTIFICER; / MY MAKER WAS DIVINE AUTHORITY, / THE HIGHEST WISDOM, AND THE PRIMAL LOVE. / BEFORE ME NOTHING BUT ETERNAL THINGS / WERE MADE, AND I ENDURE ETERNALLY. / ABANDON EVERY HOPE, WHO ENTER HERE. (Mandelbaum 1-9)
This is what Dante and Virgil first see when they approach the gates of Hell. Also, this is a foreboding inscription that is placed in the entrance to give a warning to those who enter. HELL is not just a place, no; it is a living, breathing person who will bring pain and un-imaginable torture. With this message, we can see how powerful its meaning really is. For instance: eternal pain, divine authority, primal love, and eternal things; all have a strong adjective to strengthen its meaning. Meanwhile: justice urged, endure eternally, and abandon every hope; all have strong verbs. Which in essence, serves as a strong understatement to what we are experiencing and trying to grasp while these two individuals "surf" thru Hell. Furthermore, without the strong diction, we would not be able to transcend its meaning. What they are personifying in this "Hellish Statement" is Hell itself. As stated above, Hell is a suffering city, an eternal pain, a way that runs among the lost. Hell is not just a place anymore, it has become something else. In quintessence, the statement above is a warning that needs to be looked upon with fear, and read with agonizing-pain. With the use of personification you can turn this phrase into an emotional-rollercoaster. With the uses of great diction and personification there is extraordinary explanation. For the reasons above, without the stalwart diction and personified "Hell" we would not grasp the internal and external meaning of this vile place we refer to as "The Inferno".
The Divine Comedy, Dante's Inferno Canto III is an exquisite exposition to the explanation of the first, but many layers of the Inferno. However, it is only describing what the boarder of hell has to offer to those unfortunate souls who have become non-believers. A place where god and bad reside to only endure the agonizing pain that is brought upon by, "horseflies and by wasps that circled them. / The insects streak their faces with their with their blood, / which, mingled with their tears, fell at their feet, / where it was gathered up by sickening worms." (Mandelbaum 66-69). In other words, Canto III of Dante's Inferno shows a delectable and well thought-out main idea that is well-supported by the personified "Hell" to which Dante and Virgil start their voyage.
Dante's Inferno Canto III
The Divine Comedy, Dante's Inferno Canto IV captures readers and brings them face to face to the first "circle of Hell". Thus, we find ourselves in "Limbo" with "The Virtuous Pagans". So far, this is the best circle to be in. These virtuous souls are not to be tormented with because the only pain worthy of them is the pain of acknowledging the fact that there is no Hope. Canto IV is exactly that, a hopeless circle for those who were born without the Christian faith, or, they were not baptized in the name of the Almighty. Canto IV of Dante's Inferno provides a virtuous main idea which is well supported by the symbolism of Pagans who have permanently resided there.
Canto IV of Dante's Inferno has a unique main idea. To begin with, Dante awoke from his "fainting-spell" to find himself across Acheron, and on the brink of Hell. Here, Dante and Virgil are in "Limbo" (Circle One of Hell) with "The Virtuous Pagans":
They were born without the light of Christ's revelation, and, therefore, they cannot come into the light of God, but they are not tormented. Their only pain is that they have no hope. (49)
These are the souls who were not born during the Christianity faith and/or were not baptized in the name of God. Therefore, they neither are to be tortured nor have humility. However, they are living in luxury compared to other circles of Hell. For instance:
We reached the base of a great Citadel / circled by seven towering battlements / and by a sweet brook flowering around them all. / This we passed over as if it were firm ground. / Through seven gates I entered with those sages / and came into a green meadow blooming round. (106-111)
This is describing a great fortress surrounded by a small, natural stream of fresh water. In addition, there is a meadow blooming around the inner-complex of the castle. Without a doubt, Dante and Vigil have come across the most "mellowed-out" circle of Hell, this will be their last one, and so, they proceed onward into the dark treacherous-caverns of the unknown.
Symbolism, this is a specific idea or object to represent ideas, values, or ways of life. Canto IV is filled up to the brim with it. As evidence, in stanzas eighteen through twenty-one Virgil states:
I was still new to this estate of tears / when a Mighty One descended here among us, / crowned with the sign of His victorious years. / He took from us the shade of our first parent, / of Abel, his pure son, of ancient Noah, / of Moses, the bringer of law, the obedient. / Father Abraham, David the King, / Israel with his father and his children, / Rachel, the holy vessel of His blessing, / and many more He chose for elevation / among the elect. And before these, you must know, / no human soul had ever won salvation. (52-63)
The people in these stanzas symbolize those who were exempt from the "no-salvation" rule that God placed. Caused by, Jesus Christ who granted these souls amnesty, when he descended into Hell during between the time of his death and his resurrection. This is called "The Harrowing of Hell", when Jesus Christ ventured into Hell. Take Moses for example. He was a profit that was commanded by God to deliver the Hebrews from slavery. So he did. Moses guided the Hebrew slaves out of Egypt, through the Red Sea. They wandered in the desert for 40 years until they reached the Land of Israel. Even though, back then there was no Christianity, or baptizing, Moses still obeyed God. Notice how he was "commanded" to deliver the Hebrews from slavery. He was obedient, and he brought over the greatest laws known to man, "The Ten Commandments". He was given a task, he accepted it, and he got his "just rewards". He does not fit the rules of Limbo. In the same way, Noah was commanded by God to build an Ark to save a core stock of the world's animals from the Great Flood. Once again, "commanded", he was yet another exception to the rule. Unquestionably, these "Pagans" symbolize the Great Divide between having faith and rather than hoping for it.
The Divine Comedy, Dante's Inferno Canto IV is an exquisite description of the first circle of Hell. Brought about by the insightful descriptions of those who were non-believers. Not because they chose to be, but, because there was not one. For the reasons above, Dante's Inferno Canto IV was a virtuous circle in Hell which portrayed a well thought-out main idea that was well-supported by symbolic Pagans who have come to terms with their permanent home. Their only home.
Dante's Inferno Canto IV
The Divine Comedy, Dante's Inferno Canto XII is all about those who went against ones neighbors. Now, Dante and Virgil have arrived to the First Ring of the Seventh Circle of Hell. Here, you will see a river of blood which boils the sinners who were violent against their "neighbors". Canto XII of Dante's Inferno provides a vengeful main idea which is well supported by the symbolism of a Minotaur guarding the lake of boiling-blood.
Canto XII of Dante's Inferno has a very descriptive main-idea. To begin with, Dante and Virgil have progressed to Ring One of the Seventh Circle of Hell (as seen at the bottom of the webpage). This circle of hell captures the sinners who were violent against their neighbors, ". . . for we draw near / the river of blood that scalds / those who by violence do injury to others" (46-48). Furthermore, they are to forcefully reside in this river of blood and not rise to high above the water. For the sin they committed was not pleasent, they do not deserve the right to "stand-up" and beg for forgivness. The problem these poor unfotunate souls face is the arrows that will be unleashed upon them if they were to rise too high above the boiling lake. In any case, they are dammed to boil flesh and all as payment for their sinful ways. Forever to feel pain, and dread in return for the pain and suffering they gave when they had life.
Notwithstanding, symbols are one of the main objects or creatures in a story. In Canto XII there is a major symbol that Dante and Virgil encounter. The Minotaur. The Minotaur is a Greek mythological creature that is part man part bull. During their decent they encounter a Minotaur, Chiron wielding a bow and arrow. Chiron was held as the superlative centaur among his brethren. Like the satyrs, centaurs were notorious for being overly indulgent drinkers and carousers, given to violence when intoxicated, and generally uncultured delinquents. Chiron, by contrast, was intelligent, civilized and kind. In addition to symbols, look at the bow and arrow. It was created from a Greek/Roman god Apollo. Apollo is the god of: light and the sun, archery, medicine, healing and plague, music, poetry, truth and prophecy, arts and many more talents that seem to be wrapped around the same description as the Minotaur Chiron. Chiron was known for his knowledge and skill with medicine. In Contrast with Canto XII, Chiron was not friendly and kind. He was going to shoot an arrow directly at Dante. If Virgil did not step in to stop Chiron from releasing his deadly shot, Dante would have been injured severely. If Chiron is so kind and full of humility, why is he in Hell? Why was he charged with this novel task of smiting those who rise too high above the water? Perhaps, Chiron is there to heal those who have sinned wrongfully upon the Almighty. Maybe, Chiron is there because he is civilized and intelligent enough to understand why he is there in the-first-place.
Dante's Inferno Canto XII
The Divine Comedy, Dante's Inferno Canto V is all about lustful-sinners. Now, Dante and Virgil have arrived to the Second Circle of Hell. The Judgment Realm. Here, you will find those souls that used lust to guide their way to commit a Sin. With that in mind, they must face the grueling and tortuous winds that are created in this realm of "lust". Canto V of Dante's Inferno provides a lustful main idea which is well supported by the symbolism of those who are "visa-less", and cannot travel outside that circle.
Canto V of Dante's Inferno has a very descriptive main-idea. To begin with, Canto V reveals to us how souls get placed into their individual realm of Hell. For instance, Dante and Virgil are in circle two of Hell. Just after, they left into the darkness from "imbo"with "he Virtuous Pagans". This circle has a "demon" by the name of Minos. His job goes as follows:
There dreadful Minos stands, gnashing his teeth: / examining the sins of those who enter, / he judges and assigns as his tail twines. / I mean that when a spirit born to evil / appears before him, it confesses all; / and he, the connoisseur of sin, can tell / the depth of Hell appropriate to it; / as many times as Minos wraps his tail / around himself, that marks the sinners level (4-12).
These are the souls who allowed for lust to drive their better judgment. However, in order for them to receive lust, they committed a sin in the process, adultery. Without a doubt, Dante and Virgil are face to face with those who are being judged, not only for all of the sins committed against God's will, but, sins that have defined their own humility.
Symbolism, this is a specific idea or object to represent ideas, values, or ways of life. Canto V has well supported symbolism built in. As evidence, in stanzas four through six we are introduced to the one that brings fourth judgment to those who committed sins. "There dreadful Minos stands, gnashing his teeth: / examining the sins of those who enter, / he judges and assigns as his tail twines" (4-6). Now, Minos was a mythical king of Crete, son of Zeus and Europa. After his death, Minos became a judge of the dead in Hades. Compared to, Canto V of Dante's Inferno, Minos is the judge in Hell. Hell and Hades are basically the same; the only difference is that Hades is the Greek Underworld. Furthermore, Canto V describes circle two of Hell. For example, "And just as cranes in flight will chant their lays, / arraying their long file across the air, / so did the shades I saw approaching, borne / by that assailing wind, lament and moan" (46-49). This statement symbolizes the power of "lust", which blows one about uncaringly and pointlessly. In comparison to, Francesca da Rimini and her husband's brother Paolo, to which she committed adultery too, then suffered a violent death at the hands of her husband. Both, Francesca da Rimini and Paolo reside in circle two of Hell. Unquestionably, symbolism can come from the simplest of form, from a mere mythological figure, to something more meaningful like emotions.
The Divine Comedy, Dante's Inferno Canto IV is a well-rounded chapter. It describes how one mere mortal is judged and placed into a group. Hell is not a place anyone wants to end up, but, as we journey deeper into this story we begin to understand its deeper meaning. Everyone can make a mistake. Everyone can sin upon the Almighty. But, the difference between those who do it and those who are forgiving is bravery. The leap of Faith is all that is needed to truly be forgiven. For the reasons above, Dante's Inferno Canto V is a hope-seeking circle in Hell which portrayed a well thought-out main idea that was well-supported by symbolic themes and mythological characters.
Dante's Inferno Canto V