What is the Relationship Between Classical and Christian Culture in the Divine Comedy, Especially the “Inferno?”
The divine comedy that consists of three significant sections namely, “Inferno, Purgatoria and Paradiso” tends to have a strong relationship between classical and Christian culture (Grafton 251). The comedy seems to have a classical sense because it has a happy conclusion. The series of the comedy depicts a journey from hell until the believers reach in heaven through Purgatory. The comedy has various instances where a poem is read that speaks of what is necessary for a human being to do to land while in various different stages of eternal destination. Some of the major characters in the comedy include Dante and Vigil. Dante is the central character while Vigil symbolizes the human reason. This paper demonstrates the relationship between classical and Christian culture in the divine comedy especially on the Inferno section (Grafton 251).
The divine comedy demonstrates various aspects of the central character, Dante, regarding his life and times. According to the comedy, the figure that manages to guide Dante on his journey through hell is Virgil (Grafton 251). The journey goes through one of the sections known as Purgatory. On this journey, this is where one can be able to depict the relationship between classical and Christian culture. Both of the cultures tend to intermarry at a number of key points on the comedy. The poem, which is full of symbolism, depicts that some of the points that contribute into the relationship of the two cultures is law and education (Grafton 251).
On the Inferno section of the comedy, Dante makes his views and opinions regarding the classical politics of his time (Grafton 252). Moreover, Dante makes his views concerning a visionary picture on how the situation in hell will be. Hell is the place where all the enemies together with bad people will receive their reward of punishment. According to Dante, all the bad people will be punished for every sin that they committed while on earth. The Purgatorio will be the place that people will undergo through the forgiveness and cleanliness process. Thereafter, the comedy indicates that the good people will finally join God in the Paradise (Grafton 252). This is the place where the good people will be able rejoice happily for the rest of their lives. On this case, the comedy portrays a great combination of the classical culture where the comedy shows some of the characters identified as sinners. Most of these actors were borrowed from the ancient Greek and Roman history. Others were borrowed from various experiences of Dante. The comedy indicates there is a divine being that is capable of punishing the sinners. The punishment acts as a way of giving justice to the oppressed (Grafton 252).
The comedy shows that Virgil, who acts as a personal angel for Dante guides him through the gates of hell (Grafton 252). Moreover, Virgil as believed by most of the Christians is the angel who offers guidance in every day live, continues to guide Dante as he enters in the spirit world (Grafton 252). As the comedy ends, Dante realizes that some of the people who thought they were righteous while in the earth were not. Others who thought they were bad were not only that they did not accept to receive baptism (Grafton 252). This indicates Christian culture as demonstrated in the comedy.
The above information indicates that Dante’s contribution in the comedy illustrates a life lived in the classical times that connect with Christianity. This is because he tries to forecast what happens when one dies until the righteous ones meets with God. Dante manages to recognize various evils that exist in the world. Moreover, he manages to acknowledge the role that God plays in saving those who honor him from the worldly evils. Dante also demonstrates the part that Satan plays in making life difficult. The divine comedy therefore, creates a relationship between the classical and the Christian culture.
Grafton Anthony T. The Classical Tradition. Cambridge Mass: Harvard University Press, 2010. Print.