Saturday, October 11, 2014

Corporeal Form

While thinking about the various punishments found in Dante's Hell, I realized the importance of the corporeal being of the damned. By remaining similar to their bodily forms, these sinners stay far from the perfect form; their bodies trap their spirits in a particular place, unable to escape and return to Paradise and God. Furthermore, these punishments are all forms of torture, and the first word that comes to mind when I hear the word "torture" is pain, specifically physical pain. This point is emphasized right before Dante sees punishment for the first time in Canto V, when Minos says, "O you who come to the place where pain is host[.]" Pain is not just an element of Hell, it is the benefactor, the one true master over all who reside in each and every level. For pain to be properly felt, however, those experiencing it must live a corporeal existence; it is necessary to have a physical form to suffer from physical pain. Thus those who are punished in Hell must be trapped in their bodies so that they can truly understand and feel their punishments.

4 comments:

Bonnie Cash said...

Good point, Ross. It especially goes along with the fact that the closer you are to Satan the worse your sin is and the more body you have. Like you said, you need a body to feel pain, and it makes sense that the closer you are, the more body, the worse sin, and the more pain you feel for your actions.

Isabel Celata said...

Although I completely agree with both Ross and Bonnie, I would like to point out that the pain that those in Hell suffer is mental as well as physical. In fact, I would argue that the knowledge that the sinner is eternally separated from God is worse than any physical pain that they could ever suffer.

Tiffany Tavassoli said...

I think that the opinions of Isabel, Ross, and Bonnie all make a lot of sense to me. The idea of Isabel's comment of torture in hell as a form of mental torture and then Ross' idea of the body confining one's soul, causing torture and pain are greatly connected. I think that the body confining one's soul leads to pain as Ross mentioned, and I think that this idea of one's body being trapped causes the torturous state of mind that Isabel spoke of. Therefore, if one's soul is trapped in one's body, this causes one's mind to also be "trapped" in a hopeless and desperate state of mind. To me, this double meaning of torture, leads to double the sensation of torture in hell.

alex Monier said...

I agree with Isabel. This is especially evident among the virtuous pagan circle where the only actual punishment was the fact that they knew they would have to live their whole lives without any chance of ever escaping hell. If this is a punishment here, I'd imagine that this punishment works its way down the totem pole as well and the other circles not only deal with the physical pain but also the emotional separation and lack of God's love.