Essay on Divine Comedy - Contrapasso of Dante’s Inferno

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Inferno - Contrapasso

In Dante’s Inferno, Dante takes a journey with Virgil through the many levels of Hell in order to experience and see the different punishments that sinners must endure for all eternity. As Dante and Virgil descend into the bowels of Hell, it becomes clear that the suffering increases as they continue to move lower into Hell, the conical recess in the earth created when Lucifer fell from Heaven. Dante values the health of society over self. This becomes evident as the sinners against society experience suffering greater than those suffer which were only responsible for sinning against themselves. Dante uses contrapasso, the Aristotelian theory that states a soul’s form of suffering in Hell contrasts or extends
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It is actually ironic because these lost souls now know exactly where they are and where they will go. In losing their path, they are forced to find the path of ultimate suffering that they will walk for eternity. The inscription states that Hell was created by the “divine authority, the highest wisdom and the primal love”. This most likely refers to the Holy Trinity (God, Christ and the Holy Spirit). This realm was created so God could punish those who went against the word of God.

As soon as they walk through the door, Dante can hear screams of ultimate suffering and pain at the hands of contrapasso. The souls inhabiting the Ante-Inferno are those who “lived without disgrace and without praise” (III, 36). They are in neither Hell nor Heaven. Because they did not live on either side of righteousness, they are forced to stay at the outermost limits of Hell, Hell’s closest point to Heaven. There, as they are constantly bitten by flies and wasps, they must perpetually gaze upon the place where they could be if they had chosen to do something positive with their lives. This will cause them to continually feel regret for not taking action in their flesh.

He gazed downward and Virgil explains that this is the First Circle of Hell. This is Limbo. All of the souls who led fruitful and virtuous lives, but were not baptized or lived before Christianity reside here. Even though some of

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