Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Is Dante mocking Hell as well as representing the Trinity with his use of "3?"

It seems to me that not only does Dante use the repeating pattern of three in the Inferno to represent the Trinity but to also mock Satan.  For example, Satan, down in Judecca is stuck in the ice holding the three sinners in each of his three mouths.  However, this is all he can do.  He is stuck from the waist down in the frozen water of Cocytus.  This basically leaves Satan powerless against God and Christianity as a whole.  Could Dante's use of the "three pattern" also represent Satan being subservient to God?  Dante's use of "three" does not give Satan the power that it gives the Trinity.  Satan is just frozen in place punishing the three sinners.  He is powerless against God and the Trinity as a whole.  This could have something to do with Dante's firm ties to Christianity.  What do you think?

5 comments:

Lindsay A said...

Maybe the use of three could represent the presence of God, since the trinity is made up of three parts. It is God's divine justice being administered in Hell, so the fact that everything is divided into threes shows the power of God over this space. Maybe the three heads of Satan show that he was defeated by God and now he must endure an eternity of Hell due to God's justice.

Michell D said...

I think it is more of a shoutout to the trinity. Maybe he is paying his respects to god by not giving satan his own original form. The number 3 permeates the book, so why stop at satan, it's the pinnacle of hell, why would Dante want to change directions at the very epicenter of all the references to 3. If anything, I think the devil is the most fitting place to contrast God, yet still have aspects of God present.

TSHAH said...

As far as the number 3 goes, I agree with Madeline in terms of it being more of a representation of the Trinity. I also think that Dante's use of three is part of his pattern because there are 33 cantos in each of his series of 3 (except for the 34 cantos in the "Inferno" because of the prologue". The fact that Satan is stuck in the ice, is not really God mocking Satan, bur rather contraposso, as Satan was so "cold" and stuck in one mindset when he defied God and caused the split between the angels.

Tyler Dean said...

I agree with Lindsay. I think that the motif of the Trinity shows that God pervades everything in the world, even if it is in the deepest depths of Judecca. God is all powerful and omnipotent, and no matter where you go, even where the world is at its worst, God is there in some way. I believe that Dante puts the motif in the poem so much to emphasize the power of God as i just said

Ben Bonner said...

I think that Dante uses sets of three in hell as a way to mock sin and Satan. Because the number three is primarily associated with the trinity in Christiantiy, and is therefore a holy number, applying it to Satan serves to mock him and as a reminder that, even for him, his raison d'etre is to carry out God's will.