Saturday, October 17, 2015

Historical Figures in Hell

I found it interesting that Dante specifically put certain historical figures in Hell, and had a specific places that he felt were suitable for all of them. For example, the poets are in Limbo and their only punishment is that they will never be able to feel the presence of God. Filippo Argentinni, on the other hand, is in the fifth circle, which contains the wrathful and slothful. His punishment is getting torn appart by the other wrathful for eternity (obviously much worse). This is because Dante admires the poets (and thinks of himself as one of them) and despises Filippo. Although it doesn't have much of an effect on the readers today, at the time this was first written the readers would have probably been shocked by those Dante chose to put in Hell, and possibly even felt pity and fear as they would have had more of a personal connection with these people. I feel like this would have changed peoples perspective about Hell drastically for this time period because this was not only the first description of Hell itself, but a description of specific people who you could compare yourself to and wonder whether your sins would bring you to hell like theirs did. 


Jack Zheng said...

Certainly, Dante's imagery of hell could have been terrifying for his intended audience, especially since there is no way to determine whether you have been sinful enough to end up in hell, or whether you have repented enough to gain God's forgiveness. Dante's story could take away the reader's confidence in his/her own salvation. It seems as if confession could solve most if not all problems relating to the status of one's soul though. But if you never learn or hear about Jesus in your life, you would just be out of luck because God apparently has no mercy in that case.

Antonio Imbornone said...

I find It interesting that Dante is very prejudice with the historical figures in hell. For instance, as Madison pointed out he put all of the poets in Limbo. We are able to see Dante's political and religious beliefs at the time. Dante puts multiple Pope's in hell, revealing his negative relationships with these popes and his overall suspicion of papal corruption. As we talked about in class he despises Fillippo Argentinni, and Dante the Pilgrim is sure to enjoy every second of watching him suffer. There is also evidence of Dante's religious beliefs.
Dante's prejudices continue with his own placement in purgatory. From his writings we see his sins (especially vanity), yet he places himself in purgatory.

Cheyenne Dwyer said...

I feel like Dante putting people in hell in his writings would also affect the reputation of the people involved. it's kind of nice to imagine people sucking up to Dante in order to be in heaven in his story instead of hell. If you think about it, I'm sure none of us are familiar with Filipo but we still think of him in a negative way as a terrible person just because Dante put him in hell. It's almost incredible how a Christian writing can affect people's beliefs in others and their belief in Christianity. I'm sure that people's thoughts on their beliefs were shifted by reading this work.

madison kahn said...

I totally agree with what Cheyenne is saying about how it may ruin people's reputations in life. If you ask me, Dante does not seem like all that great of a person. He really comes off as quite arrogant, determing other people's fates like he's God or something. I do see what Dante may be trying to accomplish here. I think his main purpose is to warn people about sinning, but I think it's pretty unnecessary for him to pinpoint these specific people and try to up his self-worth by putting posts in Limbo.

Jack Zheng said...

I was going to make a blog post, but saw that you guys made comments that agreed with what I was about to say:
It seems like Dante is a petty, bitter person from his placement of people in hell. He fantasizes a lot about the eternal torment that people he didn’t like would receive after death. He judges people for their political beliefs, and he acts as if his moral compass is as good and righteous as God’s judgment.
On top of this, Dante also self-proclaims as a divine messenger destined to see Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven. While he doesn’t have the audacity to claim himself as perfect, he does imply that he belongs to Heaven. The people he didn’t like, however, would all go to Hell. Isn’t it sacrilegious that Dante pretends to have the knowledge of what everyone’s afterlives would look like?