Saturday, October 11, 2014
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.