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1. How can forces like love and compassion give rise to banishment to Hell?

It depends on what you do and what happens like when you feel very happy it can get out
2. Which sinners seem to be portrayed in a sympathetic light, highlighting their good of control and things may happen like bad sex. Misguided love is the source of most of
attributes? the crazy people in this world.
3. How does Dante represent good and evil? What does this say about the power of evil
in comparison to the power of virtue? "Dante's love and sympathy for several of the souls in hell acts as a form of
9 Circles of Hell (Dante's Inferno) redemption for them (e.g. Paolo and Francesca in the circle of the lustful, Canto 5;
Inferno, the first part of Dante's Divine Comedy that inspired the latest Dan Brown's Brunetto Latino in the circle of the sodomites, Seventh Circle, Canto 15)Dante re-
bestseller of the same title describes the poet's vision of Hell. The story begins with the evaluating each sin and each sinner, in many cases forgiving what the Church could not;
narrator (who is the poet himself) being lost in a dark wood where he is attacked by three humanizing the sinner and showing understanding and tolerance of human passions;
beasts which he cannot escape. He is rescued by the Roman poet Virgil who is sent by Dante imitating Christ and his forgiving and redemption of humanity: allusion to legends
Beatrice (Dante's ideal woman). Together, they begin the journey into the underworld or of Christ entering hell after his death and rescuing a number of souls (Adam and Eve, the
the 9 Circles of Hell. prophets, etc.)
First Circle (Limbo) Dante's mission is re-redemption of the world by recalling and imitating the love and
Dante’s First Circle of Hell is resided by virtuous non-Christians and unbaptized pagans mercy of Christ."
who are punished with eternity in an inferior form of Heaven. They live in a castle with As for Dante's lack of concern or anger towards certain sinners, Acosta
seven gates which symbolize the seven virtues. Here, Dante sees many prominent people addresses this as well: problems of Dante seen in his wrath in the circle of the wrathful
from classical antiquity such as Homer, Socrates, Aristotle, Cicero, Hippocrates and (Fifth Circle) when he is enraged at the sight of Filippo Argenti, a personal enemy; Dante
Julius Caesar. feels no sympathy for Filippo's tears and suffering and even desires to see him suffer
Second Circle (Lust) more (Virgil too is caught up in cruelty and desire for vengeance)problems of Dante
In the Second Circle of Hell, Dante and his companion Virgil find people who were especially visible in the Ninth Circle of hell, the frozen, circular lake of ice at the bottom
overcome by lust. They are punished by being blown violently back and forth by strong of hell and the residence of Satan."
winds, preventing them to find peace and rest. Strong winds symbolize the restlessness of Both Faust and Inferno contain extensive references to Christianity, and both
a person who is led by desire for fleshly pleasures. Again, Dante sees many notable are concerned with the destiny of the human spirit. Although they are seemingly similar
people from history and mythology including Cleopatra, Tristan, Helen of Troy and works, and at face value it seems that they say the same thing, Goethe and Dante have
others who were adulterous during their lifetime. very differing views concerning the philosophies of good and evil.
Third Circle (Gluttony) The landscape of Inferno consists of the world, divided into two halves: A
When reaching the Third Circle of Hell, Dante and Virgil find souls of gluttons who are hemisphere of water and a hemisphere of land. At the center of the hemisphere of land
overlooked by a worm-monster Cerberus. Sinners in this circle of Hell are punished by lies Jerusalem, beneath which lies the inferno. The inferno is best described as a large
being forced to lie in a vile slush that is produced by never ending icy rain. The vile slush funnel which begins just underground, and whose focal point resides at the center of
symbolizes personal degradation of one who overindulges in food, drink and other gravity. The funnel has grooves around it, in each of these the sinners guilty of a
worldly pleasures, while the inability to see others lying nearby represents the gluttons’ particular sin are punished together, at the bottom rests Satan. Past the center of gravity a
selfishness and coldness. Here, Dante speaks to a character called Ciacco who also tells tunnel connects to the other side of the world surfacing at the foot of Mount Purgatory,
him that the Guelphs (a fraction supporting the Pope) will defeat and expel the which rests in the center of the hemisphere of water as the only land. Mount Purgatory is
Ghibellines (a fraction supporting the Emperor to which Dante adhered) from Florence composed of several steps, on each of these is punished the repentant souls guilty of one
which happened in 1302, before the poem was written (after 1308). of the seven deadly sins. At the peak of Mount Purgatory is Eden, the terrestrial paradise.
Fourth Circle (Greed) Above the world are the spheres of heaven, each containing a specific type of soul that
In the Fourth Circle of Hell, Dante and Virgil see the souls of people who are punished has attained salvation. He says that when Satan fell from Heaven (Which he did in a quite
for greed. They are divided into two groups – those who hoarded possessions and those literal way in the Inferno) that the Earth was so horrified at the sight of him that it hid
who lavishly spent it – jousting. They use great weights as a weapon, pushing it with their itself behind the ocean, creating the two hemispheres. Then, to escape contact with the
chests which symbolizes their selfish drive for fortune during lifetime. The two groups lord of corruption, the Earth was hollowed out, creating the pit of Hell. The earth thus
that are guarded by a character called Pluto (probably the ancient Greek ruler of the moved now constitutes the bulk of Mount Purgatory .
underworld) are so occupied with their activity that the two poets don’t try to speak to Christian doctrine is followed to the letter in all of Dante?s ideas. Although it
them. Here, Dante says to see many clergymen including cardinals and popes. may seem that he digresses from that doctrine in the order of his fictional universe one
Fifth Circle (Anger) must remember that the Inferno is intended to be taken symbolically, and the literal
The Fifth Circle of Hell is where the wrathful and sullen are punished for their sins. meanings are not the intended ones. Any judgments passed on the souls residing in
Transported on a boat by Phlegyas, Dante and Virgil see the wrathful fighting each other the Inferno are taken directly from classic Christian doctrine. Dante?s universe is
on the surface of the river Styx and the sullen gurgling beneath the surface of the water. constructed on several texts from the Bible taken literally. It contains Purgatory, a
Again, the punishment reflects the type of the sin committed during lifetime. While concept found in the Catholic religion of his day, as well as Eden, the terrestrial paradise,
passing through, the poets are approached by Filippo Argenti, a prominent Florentine residing on top of Mount Purgatory. It portrays Hell as a real place, although it?s
politician who confiscated Dante’s property after his expulsion from Florence. structure is fashioned to represent the nature of sin, rather than the actual destiny of the
Sixth Circle (Heresy) sinners.
When reaching the Sixth Circle of Hell, Dante and Virgil see heretics who are Dante uses mythological references in his work. This adds a surrealistic sense
condemned to eternity in flaming tombs. Here, Dante talks with a couple of Florentines – and was possibly intended to help the reader interpret the poem symbolically. It also ties
Farinata degli Uberti and Cavalcante de’ Cavalcanti – but he also sees other notable the poem to other works and ideas which previously existed and allows it to immediately
historical figures including the ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus, Holy Roman strike a chord in the minds of the reading audience. Dante uses mythological characters
Emperor Frederick II and Pope Anastasius II. The latter, however, is according to some as symbols for sin itself, and uses the punishments as symbolic of the mindset of the
modern scholars condemned by Dante as heretic by a mistake. Instead, as some scholars sinner. In the third circle of the Inferno sinners guilty of Gluttony are punished in a
argue, the poet probably meant the Byzantine Emperor Anastasius I. constant deluge of rain, mud, and general filth representative of their own corrupted
Seventh Circle (Violence) spirits. Those souls are eternally tormented by Cerberus, the guardian of the underworld
The Seventh Circle of Hell is divided into three rings. The Outer Ring houses murderers in Greek mythology, whom Dante has reassigned meaning to. Dante makes Cerberus the
and others who were violent to other people and property. Here, Dante sees Alexander eidolon of gluttony by virtue of his three heads and ferocity. This demonstrates Dante?s
the Great (disputed), Dionysius I of Syracuse, Guy de Montfort and many other notable use of mythological characters as a tool. He has no real reverence for them, except
historical and mythological figures such as the Centaurus, sank into a river of boiling perhaps secondarily through his respect of Vergil.
blood and fire. In the Middle Ring, the poet sees suicides who have been turned into trees The basic philosophical implications of the Inferno are that Satan,
and bushes which are fed upon by harpies. But he also sees here profligates, chased and representing evil, is the center of gravity, and because of this all humans are naturally
torn to pieces by dogs. In the Inner Ring are blasphemers and sodomites, residing in a drawn to him. God, representing perfect salvation, resides beyond the highest sphere of
desert of burning sand and burning rain falling from the sky. heaven in the Empyrean, and is the most difficult thing in the universe to reach. The three
Eight Circle (Fraud) beasts eternally block the right path: The leopard of treachery, the lion of violence, and
The Eight Circle of Hell is resided by the fraudulent. Dante and Virgil reach it on the the she-wolf of incontinence. These creatures represent their respective sins, and that they
back of Geryon, a flying monster with different natures, just like the fraudulent. This block the right path for all souls residing on the earth. The fact that the right path is
circle of Hell is divided into 10 Bolgias or stony ditches with bridges between them. In vacant tells us that no man is capable of right living, and so the journey through the
Bolgia 1, Dante sees panderers and seducer. In Bolgia 2 he finds flatterers. After crossing inferno is necessary.
the bridge to Bolgia 3, he and Virgil see those who are guilty of simony. After crossing Faust is the story, written in dialogue, of the legendary Doctor Faustus, who
another bridge between the ditches to Bolgia 4, they find sorcerers and false prophets. In makes a deal with the Devil. It is loosely based on previous works concerning the Doctor,
Bolgia 5 are housed corrupt politicians, in Bolgia 6 are hypocrites and in the remaining 4 who may have been a real person, including Dr. Faustus, by Christopher Marlowe.
ditches, Dante finds hypocrites (Bolgia 7), thieves (Bolgia 7), evil counselors and Goethe relates the story of the Doctor who, having studied and searched in every field
advisers (Bolgia 8), divisive individuals (Bolgia 9) and various falsifiers such as looking for enlightenment, has now become desperate. Seeing this opportunity, as is
alchemists, perjurers and counterfeits (Bolgia 10). related in the ?Prologue in Heaven?, Mephistopheles asks The Lord?s permission to
Ninth Circle (Treachery) tempt Faust. The Lord agrees rather amiably and the action of the play begins.
The last Ninth Circle of Hell is divided into 4 Rounds according to the seriousness of the Mephistopheles makes a pact with Faust and they agree that Mephistopheles will be
sin though all residents are frozen in an icy lake. Those who committed more severe sin Faust?s servant and will show him everything there is to see. The wager is if Faust is
are deeper within the ice. Each of the 4 Rounds is named after an individual who contented by Mephistopheles? antics so that he finds true happiness in luxury, he will
personifies the sin. Thus Round 1 is named Caina after Cain who killed his brother Abel, lose his immortal soul. The play concerns Mephistopheles? attempts to corrupt Faust so
Round 2 is named Antenora after Anthenor of Troy who was Priam’s counselor during that he may find pleasure in worldly things, which the Devil can offer.
the Trojan War, Round 3 is named Ptolomaea after Ptolemy (son of Abubus), while Goethe uses Christian references as a background for the story. He is not
Round 4 is named Judecca after Judas Iscariot, the apostle who betrayed Jesus with a entirely faithful to the doctrines of the church. Cottrell, in his ?Seven Essays? on Faust,
kiss. has this to say:
[q]At the end of the eighteenth century[?] faith in Christian doctrine was waning and In Faust no such implications are present. Man is born into an ever-changing world with
knowledge of the natural sciences rising[?] Faust explores the radical changes demanded the capacity for righteousness or decadence. It is through experience, knowledge, or self-
by the new orientation[?] Most of Goethe?s references to the Bible are used incorrectly control that man overcomes his primitive and base nature to achieve salvation, but he is
and in a blasphemous way. Goethe portrays Christianity as another set of myths to allude not necessarily damned at the start. Some are not easily swayed by their chaotic natures,
to.?[/q] and some seem destined to brutishness. The only universal that is mentioned is
Goethe uses mythological references (other than Christian ones) for more mankind?s arrogance which is presented in this quote from the ?Prologue in Heaven?,
than one reason. At times, he uses them to display that Faust is no longer following wherein Mephistopheles makes a case against mankind. The entire thing seems to be
Christianity and is instead delving into heathen lore in search of truth. The dropping of more of a shot against religious doctrines than an observation of mankind itself:
the name Helena is a mythological, but perhaps also classical, reference that is used to It shows that the fault of evil lies on man himself, because even a devil is
portray an idea. When Mephistopheles says that Faust will ?see a Helena in every girl he angered by man?s abuse of Gods gifts. It is then left to each human individually to make
meets?, we know from past readings of Homer that Helen is the most beautiful woman in the most of what they have, and the next level above righteousness is godliness. This is
the world, and so we understand what the potion Faust is about to drink will do. Just like what Faust strives for; he is willing to entertain the devil to get the opportunity to
Dante, Goethe uses mythological references simply because they are well known. The experience all things.
introduction of several such characters at the Walpurgisnight in the second part Despite the fact that evil is interpreted as an outside force in Inferno it's
of Faust works primarily to show examples of what sin can do. presence is considered absolute and inescapable. This is in alignment with the concept
The symbolism in Faust is very intricate, and only sometimes stoops to the that salvation can only be achieved through faith in Christ. The implication of this is that
level of simple allegory. The Prologue in Heaven is a comical device and an introduction, it must be impossible to avoid sin; else it would be possible to enter Heaven without
which follows closely with the Stage Managers Prelude on the stage. The real action Christ. This is demonstrated in the first Canto of The Divine Comedy when the beasts,
begins with the first act, as could be expected of a play. In the opening scene, representing sin, block Dante?s way to the right path. Then he notes that no man walks
appropriately title ?Night?, we find Faust in his study lamenting his place in life: upon that path. This is also shown by the fact that only God, his angels, and the Saints are
Faust is representative not of mankind in general, but of mankind ideally. His capable of reaching the Empyrean. All other saved souls are sent to one of the imperfect
quest for wisdom through normal means is futile, but he is still trying to gain wisdom. heavens for those repentant, but still guilty of, various sins, or for those who committed
This suggests that, although the best of us will thirst for knowledge, it is a difficult task to sins in the name of their God, and are therefore denied perfect oneness with God.
undertake. As Faust begins to despair, his self-control and sanity in general begin to lose In Faust it is said that evil is an internal thing, and yet it is portrayed by the
their power. This allows Mephistopheles, representing Faust?s primitive soul, a chance to wholly independent character of Mephistopheles. This seems to indicate that, although
appear. The incident with the pentagram restricting Mephistopheles? movement is a the primitive spirit is part of us all, it is not in any way connected to who we really are. It
demonstration that Faust is still in control, but when Mephistopheles? put Faust to sleep simply lurks in the background, awaiting its opportunity to sow discord. The lower spirit
and escapes, we know that Faust has now given in to his own chaotic nature. Once the in Goethe?s world is a dormant quality that exists within each human being, which is not
pact is made, Mephistopheles stands in for Faust in dealing with a student, the scene that the cause of temptation, but is awakened by it. In Goethe?s world, all sin is comparable to
follows is a foreshadowing event that closely parallels the use of ?The Dumb Show? Dante?s ?Sins of incontinence?, and the notion of true evil is a concept born of narrow
in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (Stoppard, NY, 1991). The remainder of Part perspective and is a caricature more befitting a devil than an actual person. Goethe?s
One deals with the life and times of one whom the Devil is trying to corrupt. Each scene view of the world is by no means black-and-white, and in fact may not contain any of
follows sporadically, illustrating various ways in which Mephistopheles tries to tempt either. It would be folly to describe Goethe?s perspective as one of shades of gray,
Faust to decadence, but always Faust keeps to his higher goal of obtaining experience, though, it would be more fitting to say that it is green. Faustis green with the infinite
and narrowly evades corruption. diversity of an organic world, devoid of set rules or boundaries. Life is only what you
While The Divine Comedy was written in a time when the church had much make of it, or rather, what you make of yourself.
power and an absolute following; Faustwas written in a time when faith in church dogma Again we find that Dante seems to be contradicting himself by placing Satan,
was decreasing and knowledge of the natural sciences was increasing. Each work the source of all evil and the universal tempter, in a place devoid of power or influence.
portrays the aura of its own time, and both depart from the generally accepted One must remember that in this case Satan is representative of sin itself, and more
conventions in a way that betrays the authors own personal beliefs, as well as their specifically, the sin of betrayal against almighty God. Satan is at the center of the earth in
personal vendettas. The Divine Comedy strives to adequately represent the truths of the frozen pool of Cocytus, farthest removed from God?s light of all things in creation. It
human nature and spirituality. At times it manages to fulfill the question of ?Why? would seem that such a position would leave him powerless over man, and indeed it does,
something is bad with a more satisfactory response than ?Because God said but man is not unaffected by his presence. It is important to remember that the Devil is in
so.? Faust achieves the same purpose, not to justify religion, but to belittle it. the details. Satan?s position at the center of the world also places him at the center of
In The Divine Comedy salvation is symbolic of divine grace, and is in fact gravity, and because the Earth was thought to be the center of the universe at this time he
very nearly meant literally. Salvation is based on repentance and faith in Christ as a is said to be the point towards which all things are drawn, excepting the immobile
savior, however Dante does not let souls off that easily. Souls must first examine their empyrean. Thus the pull of Satan is as inescapable as gravity itself. All things in the
own state of sin, and then they must repent and atone for their sins. Those who commit universe: All objects, all souls, all points, all possible things, therefore, are drawn
no blatant sins, but do no considerable good either are destined for the vestibule of Hell. inexplicably and consistently toward the source of evil. Thus Satan?s is similar to a black
This is where those souls without infamy or fame reside for the rest of eternity chasing hole sapping the universe of it?s strength, the place into which all things forgotten will
the shifting banner. This is the punishment Dante allots to those who live without purpose fall, the source of all entropy, and the ultimate cause of the world?s destruction.
or goal, and they will not be resurrected at the time of the apocalypse. This scene is In Faust evil plays a very different role. Mephistopheles is not ever-present in
mirrored in a far less grotesque manner in Beckett?s Waiting for Godot, and it seems reiteration of the fact that the concept of pure evil is flawed. The fact that Mephistopheles
Dante had a strong aversion to the absurd, preferring to think that everything has a does not appear as a black fiend with glowing eyes and an overbearing presence shows
reason. Minos, who tells in which circle they will spend eternity, then judges damned that this evil is not elemental (In Marlowe?s Dr. Faustus, the devils do appear in such a
souls. Souls who are saved are not punished for minor sins, and need not even atone for way). Mephistophelean evil is the disruption of the rhythm of life. To even be susceptible
them. They are simply filed away into their appropriate heavens. Those without God?s to Mephistopheles? works, one must have already abandoned much in the way of reason
grace will be eternally punished for any sin, no matter how small, that they once indulged of their own volition. Once this has occurred, Mephistopheles? goal is to corrupt one of
in. Those who die before they are able to atone must do so in Purgatory before they can the basic tenets of life: either the need for love, or the need for sustenance. For example:
reach Paradise or the Empyrean. Furthermore, souls in Hell are incapable of repentance Jay Gatsby, a character in The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, lives his life
because it is a divine grace that is not present in Hell, where not even the name of God or desperate for Daisy. Such an occurrence would qualify one for Faustian Hell. In part one
Jesus may be spoken. In Faust, salvation is an indicator of whether or not a person has of Faust, this is exactly what Mephistopheles attempts to do with Faust. He first takes
lived well or had the right priorities in Goethe?s eyes, and therefore some people are him to the tavern, but finds that Faust has no natural affinity to gluttony and indecency,
saved in ways that the Bible does not condone. Each individual is either good or bad, but and so he decides to appeal to Faust?s more civilized side. He has the witch brew a potion
few individuals are perfect. Any individual who is imperfect can be swayed by that will make Faust ?see a Helena in every girl he meets.? Rather than fall for a random
Mephistopheles? (Primitive thought) power. Those whose goals are righteous will girl on the street, which is where Mephistopheles has taken him immediately after taking
invariably be saved, regardless of their stance on religion, and those who succumb to the draught, he instead falls for a well-mannered girl who is devoid of sin. He falls in
primal urges will fall. Gretchen is saved despite her fall from grace in a very deus ex love, rather than lust. So in Goethe?s view evil works within the confines of our own
machina style turn of events, but this is not very strange when you consider that once wants and needs, and is the fault of no outside force. It is the result of wanting too much,
Gretchen fell, she was able to see how arrogant and condescending she was as a sinless or mistaking want for need, or need for want. It is the misunderstanding of the very fabric
person. Faust is saved at the end in another deus ex machina turn of events because, of our own lives, but as such it is also conquerable of our own accord. There is no need
unbeknownst to Mephistopheles, he repents. This is not consistent with the rest of the for divine aid in the world of Faust, because it will surely come to those who help
poem because Mephistopheles is part of Faust?s lower nature, and Faust cannot escape themselves. To borrow a line from Shakespeare?s alleged work Julius Caesar: ?The fault,
him. dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.?
In Dante?s Time, evil was considered to be an outside force. All that we call The image of good and evil is one of mankind confronting their own
sin, destruction, or evil, was thought to be the work of Satan. Satan is blamed for illness, imperfections. Dante?s view is that the imperfections are inflicted upon men by the will
corruption, and for tempting men to sin. Evil is a thing to which men are subjected, and of God and the presence of Satan. Goethe sees God and the Devil as constructs of man?s
the trial is whether or not they can withstand its corrupting touch. Satan is seen as a imperfection, and that, in the end, souls judge themselves?
universal force striving to defile and claim part of God?s perfect creation, tempting men Dante's Inferno key themes:
to sin for no reason other than to spite God. This is demonstrated symbolically in In Dante's Inferno, Dante represents the everyman who has become inattentive to his
The Divine Comedy by the fact that man inhabits the Earth, which is at the point of sinfulness and need for repentance.
equilibrium between Heaven and Hell. Man then must work to fight the gravitational God’s will enables Dante and Virgil to pass through all the gatekeepers of Hell.
forces pulling him toward Satan to avoid damnation, and must exert much effort to scale Hell is divided into many sections that correspond to sinners’ particular transgressions.
Mount Purgatory and reach the Heavens. In Dante?s world evil is inescapable, and it is The punishments meted to each group of sinners are intended to fit the crime committed.
necessary to face it. This is why it is only by climbing on Satan?s hair that Virgil is able Many of the characters that Dante encounters in Hell have changed into hideous monsters
to extricate Dante from the inferno and take him on the path of repentance. that manifest the ugliness of sin.