Midway through life, Dante finds himself lost He is stuck in between choosing the pathway of immediate downfall or painful recovery. He is given a choice if he chooses, he can sit in the middle of a dark, hopeless forest where death is imminent, or he can take a wild journey through the deep pits of terror and overcome whatever fear it is that consumes him. Like any other character who strives for a second chance, he chooses the path of painful recovery.
He has found his inch of hope through the light of honorable Virgil, but he is still unsure. He is still lost He does not know what benefit this journey will bring to him. He does not realize what this journey will unfold. But he must go if he wants to recover from whatever problem he is encountering in his life, then he must take the only chance he is given he needs to discover why he is lost and confused if he wants answers to his questions and a solution to his problem, he must take a step forward and begin his unforgettable quest.
Although it may seem as if Dante has given up all hope within himself, he decides to take a bold step toward recovery in order to overcome his state of wandering and to overcome his crisis in life. In Cantos one through three, Dante has fallen astray and must find out what he needs to do and where he needs to go. In Canto one, the reader sees his state of loneliness and fear in Canto two, the reader is exposed to his state of hopefulness and optimism, but in Canto three, the reader can see that he is back in square one afraid, alone, and confused.
A very hopeless Dante must conquer his fear and go to those very gates of Hell that tell him to abandon all hope, and in the midst of all of this, he longs to find the light at the end of the tunnel. A mix of visual imagery, irony, and repetition in all three Cantos’ shows the reader Dante’s state of being.
This progression of mixed feelings and untold secrets halt Dante from discovering his path, but once he makes his the decision, there is no going back to the dark and deserted forest. He must become a parody of those very souls in Hell and he must put himself in their shoes to discover the purpose of his own existence. After all, what fear is worse than death itself? In Canto four Dante enters Limbo, the first circle of Hell. He is welcomed by Virgil himself, who lived before Christianity or Baptism. This circle is different from all other circles in Hell because the people that are placed here are not shameful sinners. Immediately Dante wonders why these people must suffer when it was not their fault for living before the time of Christ. The paradox, “… [they] have no hope [and] live in longing” (Dante, Canto IV. 42) leads Dante and even the reader to ask this question: Why do God‘s favorable children suffer like this, especially those who have committed faults beyond their control?
Dante finds himself asking Virgil several questions to which the answers are indefinite In this Canto, Dante feels honored and lucky to have met such noble spirits, but he still ponders over what seems to be unfair justice towards the souls. In Canto five, Dante descends deeper into the second pit of Hell and is horrified at what he witnesses: “The hellish hurricane which never rests, drives on the spirits with its violence: wheeling and pounding, it harasses them” (Canto V. 30-32). This destructive force compels the sinners to lament and cry for all eternity. Just as the Lustful never rested and committed sins such as adultery or fornication, this hurricane will always bring frightful violence to their souls Dante is shocked at what he sees, and once again feels compassion for those who suffer here. But his encounter with Francesca leads him to feel even more lost and alone than before Francesca says, “Love, that can quickly seize the gentle heart, took hold of him because of the fair body.
Love, that releases no beloved from loving, took a hold of me so stronglytnLove led the two of us unto one death”. The flashback of her affair shows that she does not blame herself for the sin she committed; rather, she believes that love is guilty and she is the innocent one Like any other shameful sinner, she tries to blame everyone and everything else but herself for her fate She indirectly blames Dante for the cause of her death because he is the author of such love poems. At this point, Dante loses consciousness and faints. The reader might think that Dante fainted because he was so moved and struck by Francesca’s love story, but if looked at closely, he faints because Francesca blames him for her downfall Unlike Canto four, Canto five focuses on the sinners who committed sins because of their own will. In Canto five, the sinners are punished based on the decisions they made in their lives because of free will, yet they still blame others for their faultst.
In Canto four, even though the souls are ill fated and must live a life full of no hope, they do not blame anybody for their destiny It is ironic to see that those who freely indulged blame others while they have no right to, while those who had no control over their wrongdoings keep quiet These two Cantos contrast the way the sinners in each circle are punished and it makes sense to feel sympathy towards those in the first circle than the second After looking at these to Cantos’, the reader might find it ironic that Dante travels through the pits of “no hope” when he himself is in search of that very hope that will bring him out of his state of uncertainty, How can he find himself in the midst of such misery and doom?
The reader might ask why Dante must travel such a hopeless pathway. What will the ends be? Dante regains awareness and wakes up to find himself in the third circle of Hell where the Gluttonous reside. The monster Cerberus that guards this circle is a very ugly and vicious beast that has three throats and doglike features. The three throats symbolize the gluttonous sinner’s greed and self-indulgence that they had in their lifetime. The doglike features and actions represent the brutal environment that the sinners must live in and the unfulfilled hunger that they desire, in Canto six, Virgil comes across the bestial Cerberus but instantly defeats him when he “…[opens] his hands to their full span, [plucks] up some earth and with his fists filled full he [hurls] it straight into those famished jawsr..[and] with greedy hunger..,he gnaws at his food”.
This action represents the way the gluttonous lived their lifeithey needed their greedy desires to be quickly satisfied in order to be content, At this point, Dante questions the way God serves justice, How can He, the Powerful and Almighty, watch all these sinners suffer by their own vices? Furthermore, Dante is eager to know whether or not the torments increase or stay the same. Virgil tells him …when a thing has more perfection, so much the greater is its pain or pleasure”. This shows Dante that the more severity of the gluttonous action results in greater punishment. Dante now wonders about his own life in regard to the way he has sinned and how he shall be punished. ln Canto seven, Dante and Virgil reach the fourth circle, where the demon Plutus guards the sinners. Here, the avaricious and prodigal reside in an unending punishment of wheeling weights and howling cries.
The weights represent the burden that these souls must carry for the rest of eternity. Since they were wasteful and squandered all their blessings, they must carry the weight of their sins on their chests, Here, Dante is grief-stricken by what he sees. He notices that the faces of these spirits are unrecognizable and bald fact that Dante cannot recognize them shows him that they are not worthy of being distinguished and the fact that they are bereft of hair symbolizes the emptiness that they must live with since they threw away all that they were blessed with. The “clergymen and popes and cardinals, within whom avarice works its excess“ (Canto VII 47-48) are all placed here because their spending was not done with measure. It is ironic for Dante to see such supposedly noble and noteworthy people to be placed in this circle.
Again, he questions the way justice is served by God and whether his actions will reflect the way he will be punished, the reader can infer that he still feels lost and is overwhelmed with confusion and answered questions. In both Canto six and Canto seven, the role of justice plays a big part Dante repeatedly tries to untangle the way God punishes his children for what they have done. He also becomes even more lost and confused because it seems as if he does not know his place in life. He does not know why he is chosen to be a tourist through Hell. Along with this, there are more questions to ask than are answers to be provided Dante wants to ask so many questions but Virgil’s authority often scares him away. By raising this issue, the reader may now wonder why every guard, such as Cerberus and Plutus, listen to Virgil‘s command What quality distinguishes him as superior to the other guards? And why is he in charge of being the guidance that Dante seeks?
These questions and many more are still left unanswered by the end of Canto seven, but the reader knows that Dante is slowly able to accept the fate that is destined for him. Through is an arduous journey, he learns that every sin has its consequence, and every sinner must suffer. This leads the reader to ask the most important questions of all—who the hell is Dante and what is his sin? Canto seven demonstrates sin’s capability to degrade humans based on his actions. At the onset, Plutus, although a demon, is a model of the bestial behavior of humans he‘s half wolf, half something else Virgil’s words to Plutus, “rm”, reflects the self destructiveness of their sin. But past Plutus, the avaricious and prodigal are dehumanized to the point of recognition seeing all this, Dante wonders, why do we let our guilt consume us so? He is beginning to reflect on the justice of God The sinners are punished by their own vices, eternally eating away at their flesh.