Dante Alighieri made a great contribution to the world of literature through such magnificent works as Inferno and Purgatorio. The themes of light and darkness, religion role in human life and sins perception are considered to be centralized and contrasted in Dante’s masterpieces. The illustration of sins and sinners in both stories as well as ways of punishment are considerably contradictable and presented differently taking into account the messages which the author strived to reflect.
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Inferno discloses the aspects of divine and religion retribution; the part is devoted to the depiction of the descent through the levels of the Hell. Dante managed to describe the punishments of the sinners depending upon the degree of sin. As a matter of example, the punishment for the sin of fortune tellers was described through such sufferings as, “…for the face was reversed on the neck, and they came on backwards, staring backwards at their loins for to look before them was forbidden.” (Ciardi, 175) It should be noted that the sinners in Inferno are punished in accordance with baptismal practices; this aspect is shown through such details as “oil burning foot”, “holy water” etc. Analyzing Inferno, it is necessary to underline the fact that Dante tries to despise and rebuke the sins; he shows his pity for the sinners’ actions performed at the beginning of the journey, thus, proving his readiness for Purgatorio and Paradise trip.
Purgatorio reflected the themes of sin and sinners through religion influence and remorse following all souls of the Christians. It should be noted that souls in Purgatory are not deprived of hope for better life striving to be among the holiest in the Heaven. Besides, all souls shown in Purgatory appeared to be highly religious believing in God and the power of religion. Dante shows at this stage all souls are on their way to reformation and change in holy things perception; they suffer remorse leading to the rebirth of religion perception and emergence of hopes.
Comparing Inferno and Purgatorio one should stress that souls are illustrated in their different and even contrasted forms; thus, the evolution of the sinners in Purgatory is compared to angelic butterflies, while soul representation in the Hell can be characterized as stagnant. Dante shows the degree of the sins through such aspects as Wisdom, Love and Divine Omnipotence; he uses the contrast of the greatest human virtues contradicting them to Ignorance, Hatred and Impotence. It is necessary to underline the fact that the basic contradiction in sinners’ souls illustration described by Dante in Inferno and Purgatorio lies deeply in the souls’ forms presentation and their perception of the sins committed. (Heaney, 2001)
Dante tried to illustrate the themes of religion interference with souls’ reformation coming through the stages of Hell of Purgatory. The author managed to highlight the punishment of the sinners in accordance with the sins degree; both works demonstrate souls’ sufferings though Purgaory is aimed at centralization of the hope and remorse aspect helping sinners to avoid punishment on further steps of their travel through holy layers. Dante contradicted souls’ punishment in Satan’ territory to Purgatory stressing the meaning of Christianity perception and believe in God.
The basic idea of sin and sinners presentation was aimed at showing the people’s seeking to forgiveness and constant believe in God; he showed that the new life of human soul depends on the human perception of holy religious aspects throughout life period as no one knows when your life may come to an end…
Ciardi, J. and Dante, A. The Purgatorio. A Mentor Classic. New American Library, 1951.
Heaney, Seamus. Envies and Identifications: Dante and the Modern Poet. New York, Farrar, 2001.