Saturday, October 25, 2014

Stars in Dante's Inferno

From the beginning of Dante's play, he uses stars as a symbol of hope and of the presence of God.  In Canto III, in the vestibule, Dante explains "Here sighs and cries and shrikes of lamentation echoed throughout the starless air of Hell[...]." The "starless air of Hell" of courses represents the absence of God's grace  in hell, and I love how Dante connects this imagery of the stars to the end of the Inferno when he says,"I saw the lovely things the heavens hold, and we came out to see once more the stars." Since stars are present at the end of Canto XXXIV, representing nearness to God, the symbolism of these stars reminds me a lot of the role that the Star of Bethlehem played. The Star of Bethlehem led the wise men, eager to meet Jesus, towards Him, and in a similar way, Dante is on a journey to be able to "get to know" God by experiencing the opposite of God, Hell. I think that the motif of sight also is related to the guidance of the stars, for Dante is able to visually see the stars at the end of the Inferno, symbolizing how God's presence is less remote.

1 comment:

Breuna Westry said...

Stars have always been a symbol of guidance much like God is supposed to guide us. Stars guide Peter Pan to Neverland by following the second star to the right. They were even used as navigation upon the high seas. Also the stars are what led us to our wonder and eventual journey to space. Without them we actually would be lost.