Essay 5

1000 word essay on::


The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri (1321):  considered the greatest poem of the Middle Ages, Dante describes hell as a funnel-shaped cave descending to the center of the earth. Circular ledges line the inside, the Circle of Damnation. He descends into this kingdom of “eternal night” with Virgil, the first-century Roman poet and together they see increasingly grievous sins, each group of sinners tormented for eternity by ironically fitting punishments.  At the very center is Satan, the King of Hell.  The beating of his mighty wings sends out the icy wind of depravity, the chilling breath of evil.  Once having come to the very center of evil, having faced every sin and seen its consequences, only now can Dante hope to purify his soul. Nothing about ourselves can be changed until it is first accepted.  Dante realized that there is no sin that he could not find in himself.  This poem is an invitation to examine our own sins, to accept them, and to accept our humaneness.  We are not angels yet.  Write about your shortcomings.  The reason that Al-Anon and Alcoholics Anonymous are so effective is that people admit their dependence and accept themselves and each other.  Dante achieves this same revelation.  If we try to deny our shortcomings we will never overcome them.  Be honest in your examination of your own limitations and discuss the repercussions they may have had on your life and the lives of others.

Just familiarize yourself with the three parts–Paradiso, Purgatorio, and Inferno and selected Cantos only from the Inferno,which describes thedifferent punishments for various sins. Drawings of the nine circles of hell are available online and can provide a visual schema for which Cantos describe which sins. Identify the sins you are most guilty of and look at how you might be punished in the afterlife.  (


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