Thursday, October 25, 2012

How Did Dante Get There?

Is anyone else wondering how Dante got to Hell in the first place? I mean, he's still alive so he hasn't gotten lost on the way to Purgatory after death. I don't know. Maybe Dante the Poet felt that how he got there didn't matter, but rather what he did when he got to Hell. Even then I feel that it would provide better explanation if the reader knew how he got there. The reader would have clearer insight into why Dante was chosen to go on this journey. Did he reach Hell under truly Divine powers or was his arrival more like a coincidence? I don't know, I just kind of wish that went into further detail. Maybe it will later on in the Comedy. Anyone have any theories?/


Ian J said...

I believe that the reason Dante enters Hell while he is still living is without a doubt due to Divine Powers. The specific reason for these Divine Powers choosing Dante, I do not know. However, I have a hunch. I think that he was somehow picked as some sort of messenger. His task might be to view all these different parts of Hell, have an intervention with Christ/God, and return to the real world to change not only his ways, but the ways of those around him. His mission might be to help change society and prevent some of the dissension and fighting between political groups, such as the Guelph and the Ghibellines, or the Whites and the Blacks. He might also learn some things about religion and influence people in a spiritual way, as well as a moral way, because he will have seen all the punishment that people receive due to their sins.

Laura N said...

I don't think it was a coincidence that Dante just so happened to appear in Hell one random day, and I do think God had something to do with it. Because it is not explicitly stated why or how he got there, the reader can either speculate, as Ian and Lindsay have done, or agree to suspend their disbelief and just accept Dante's experience as it is without wondering the background story. If you suspend your disbelief it doesn’t really matter how or why Dante is in Hell.
Also I agree partly with Ian about Dante's task/mission to educate people and make a change in society. However, I think that was Dante's personal ambition and it was not a divinely ordained mission. He may have tried to legitimized his authority by saying god gave him this mission, but only on a literary standpoint. In real life, Dante was probably trying to inspire change and use his detailed description of Hell as a stick and Heaven as a carrot for societal change.

Laura N said...
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