Dante’s Devine Comedy Essay Question
How our ideas change as we move from the Inferno to the Purgatorio and the true nature of God Moving from the Inferno, the first part of Dante’s Divine Comedy, into the Purgatorio one realizes that the nature of God keeps on changing. Apparently, the intolerant, unforgiving and punitive God that Dante portrays in the Inferno transform to a cordial, merciful and magnanimous God.
The common idea held my multitudes of people is that God reprimands reprobates. This is clearly depicted in the Inferno where sins are punished. Each sin is punished in a contrapasso implying that people in hell were forced to do a complete reverse of what they did during their life on earth. Fortunetellers walk with their heads backwards not to see forward. Traitors lament their sins in the glacial pit of desolation in the Inferno. All sins, the malicious, the violent, and the self-indulgent sins, are punished by a God who is unforgiving and wants hearts to reach him by indubitably abiding by His laws when alive. However, moving into the Purgatory, evils are purged. As Dante moves out of hell from the Inferno, he resembles a typical sinner; his lassitude, weak pity, pride, and quick anger are evident, and climbs the mountain in the beginning of the Purgatorio so that all this can be transformed into zeal, compassion, humility, and patience. “You have escaped damnation and made it to Purgatory, a place where the dew of repentance washes off … of sin and girds the spirit with humility… are cleansed from your soul, you will be illuminated by the Sun of Divine Grace, ..smiling and happy…” (Dante & John 56). Here, God is portrayed as forgiving and his pitiful nature is evident when Dante admits that souls repentant of their sins against man, and God enters Purgatory and befits unrestraint by temptations knowing very well they will ultimately be in the place where God resides, supposedly heaven. God is merciful and receives those who renounce sins into heaven.
Additionally, the theme of love that is somewhat dominant throughout the Divine Comedy becomes more important in revelation of the nature of God and framing of evil on the Purgatory Mountain. While God gives humanity pure love, as the love flows through humanity, it becomes aberrant. Human beings use love towards malicious ends such as pride, envy, and wrath to sin. Similarly, God is loving and gives humanity proper love, but humanity might portray too strong love, constituting greediness, gluttony, and covetousness, towards proper ends thus constituting a sin. The God in the Inferno does not recognize human ability to contribute positively towards improvement of the universe. Dante remains an observer in all the seven terraces as his mind experiences diverse trainings in integrating images of vices virtues. However, in Purgatorio, Dante participates in the unfolding drama. To attain spirituality, he lurches as he approaches the cornice of lethargy, but sojourns on to drink the waters of Eunoe, and become purified (Dante & John 58). This indicates the accommodating, and supportive nature of God. God is ready to cooperate with human beings seeking redemption.
From what Dante sees and hears, an individual is the prominence of God’s salvation plot. While many people believe God to be an omnipotent, and omniscient consecrated being who punishes those who wrong Him, Dante portrays a God whose main purpose is to save humanity. Moreover, God’s love for humanity is unending and always gives humanity the inordinate chance to repent and repudiate sins. In his article, James Finn asserts that, “We only know God in our own image because he has placed his image in ourselves” (N.pg). Recapitulation of God’s love and merciful nature is evident through Christ. The vision of God that many hold will only be attained when humanity changes its sinful ways and live according to God’s will. However, Dante portrays a God that is real, and those who make themselves through doleful sighs will spend their life in the circles of hell and suffer in blazing sepulchers. Furthermore, Dante gets to understand the humane nature of God, as the controller of the universe. While he punishes sinners, he does it justly such that each person gets the reward that they deserve. Those who sinned and failed to repent are subjected to suffering while those who are pure in heart are allowed to progress to Heaven where grace, delight and merriments are renowned.
In conclusion, the above elucidation indicates the nature of God as one reads from the Inferno to the Purgatorio where God becomes accommodative, merciful and more humane. Apparently, humanity must cease its flailing clamor of upheaval, and egocentric pursuit to be in good terms with God, and finally ascend into Heaven. The Purgatorio calls for all human beings to come to the kind of transformation of life that Dante underwent. God’s nature is portrayed as more attractive as one prepares to move towards holiness.
Dante, Alighieri, and John Ciardi. The Divine Comedy: The Inferno, the Purgatorio, and the Paradiso. New York: New American Library, 2003. Print.
James Finn. Introduction to The Purgatorio. Web N.d. accessed 5th March 5, 2015. http://www.italianstudies.org/comedy/Purgatorio_int.htm