Friday, October 26, 2012

Snake and Angel

I thought it was interesting how the angel who came to give Virgil and Dante entrance to Dis was compared to a snake. Angels are supposed to be holy beings, while the snake was representative of the devil and tempted Eve into the original sin. So why would Dante use a serpent to represent an angel? I thought it had to do with power. We were discussing what power meant in AP Euro the other day. Richelieu defined power as fear mixed with awe. Dante regards the angel with a sort of terrified amazement.  I think the image of the snake inspires the fear required of power. They both inspire terror - for the snake, it is the fear of the devil, and for the angel, it is the fear of God. 


Madeline Davis said...

I think the mix of fears that the Angel/Snake comparison provides is in keeping with Dante's intention with the Inferno. Through every level of Hell, Dante reminds the reader that the sinners were punished for disobeying the will of God. Although the Angel ultimately helps Dante and Virgil enter the gate, Dante the poet reminds the reader once again that God and His divine beings are above human control and should be revered, respected, and as Lindsay mentioned, feared.

TSHAH said...

I believe that Dante included the snake as a comparison to the angel to provide the reader with a parallel of how influential this angel was. The snake represents the fall of mankind as he used trickery to cause the orginal sin. To me the angle represent the saving of mankind or Dante in this case as divine intervention is all that can save him and allow him to enter the city of dis