In Dante’s Inferno, Dante thoroughly describes what he believes Hell to be. He lists many sins, along with their punishments and placements in Hell. Strangely enough, Dante does not have a specific circle for idolatry, the worship of idols, or something other than God. This is thought to be strange because idolatry is generally considered a grave sin. One possible explanation of this is that each sin in itself can be viewed as a form of idolatry.
The prisoners receive a thematically equivalent punishment to their actions in their previous lives. As the deeper circles of hell are populated by the worst inmates, the concept of contrapasso elicits exceedingly jarring punishments the further Dante travels. The nine total circles of hell are large enough to populate a lifetime 's worth of the world’s sins. When Dante is introduced to the first circle of hell, reserved for pagans, it is clear that the inmates are bound eternally to live in the Inferno, for even those who did not conciously commit sin, are forced to stay in this realm. In his real life, Alighieri was highly vocal about political stances.
According to Screwtape, this view shows how realistic Hell is and how an objective truth applies as rules and laws within Hell. Despite the fact that Screwtape argues that Hell is the only real place, Lewis has a counterargument in his The Great Divorce, in which Heaven is described as the realest place of all (Lewis 504). Screwtape only sees the negative side of realism, which is why Lewis does not agree with his arguments of war and death as the only component of
The idea of Hell itself in most Judeo-Christian denominations begins with the simple premise of being a place for those who have either sinned or turned his or her back on God, damning them to an eternity of punishment and suffering. A major idea presented in Inferno is the idea of the contrapasso. Justin Steinburg in his essay “Dante’s Justice? A Reapprasial of the Contrapasso” summarizes the idea by explaining it as a balance of crime and punishment in Hell. In canto 28 in the Inferno, the Dante first poses the idea in text when Bertran de Born must carry his own head in his arms after separating father from son.
Homer’s central character Achilles characterizes wrath and sullen fiery in a way that offers complementing insights to the fifth contrapasso of Dante 's Commedia. Achilles is a portrait of both the wrathful and sullen souls that suffer in the fifth circle of hell. Whereas Achilles devolves into an individual, as he isolates himself in rage, the souls in Dante 's fifth contrapasso are a collective whole, fighting against themselves in uncontrollable wrath or bubbling in an indistinguishable swamp of sulking anger. Imbalance first comes to play in the Iliad when Agamemnon refuses to honor Chryses pleas to return his daughter. Agamemnon causes an imbalance which Chryses tries to reactify by praying to Apollo for balance to be restored by the deaths of
The separation stage of the monomyth is marked by Satan’s banishment to Hell, and his decision for revenge towards God. His attempts at bringing about the downfall of Adam and Eve, as well as his encounters and interactions with the rest of God’s creation, address the initiation stage. The return is depicted in Satan’s venture back into the underworld, as well as the consequences that fall on everyone, following his actions
Psychological suffering versus physical torture is one of the central themes in No Exit by French playwright Jean-Paul Sartre. Sartre’s famous quote that “hell is other people” (45) is illustrated through the interactions among Garcin, Inez and Estelle. Through psychological suffering the characters’ self-destructive flaws are revealed which ultimately emphasizes how each of them are responsible for their own fate. The characters have the freedom of will to help redeem each other but choose not to. To subtly reinforce this theme, Sartre uses the setting of a locked room and the furnishings that cannot be moved to symbolize eternal suffering and the stare of the characters to judge and torment each other.
John Milton’s Paradise Lost describes Hell as social, bearable, and escapable. First, Milton makes Hell social. In Book II, all of Heaven’s fallen angels hold a meeting. The audience is so big, Milton compares their cheering to “the sound of blust’ring winds, which all night long Had rous’d the sea” (II.286-7). This social “Hell” expressly opposes Biblical truth.
Ferdinand’s cry of “Hell is empty and all the devils are here” clearly illustrates the psychological destruction that Propsero’s art can carry. His constant threats towards Caliban demonstrate the capacity of his magic, such as the infliction of “side-stiches that shall pen thy breath up”, and this supports Kermode’s view on Prospero as an exerciser of the “supernatural powers of the holy adept.” However, as G. Wilson Knight rightfully states, The Tempest “is itself a metaphor.” Prospero’s control over the characters both on and offstage, his management of the island’s natural phenomena and the orchestrated structure of the play cause many critics to view him as a self-portrait of the playwright. The Tempest is arguably Shakespeare’s last play, and the symbolic breaking of Prospero’s staff could represent Shakespeare’s departure from his
The ‘contrapasso’ in accordance with Dante’s Inferno is a process, “either resembling or contrasting with the sin itself” (Musa 37-38). The disenabling of the soul to enjoy the good that it had once rejected is evident as a result of the contrapasso for the soul has no room to grow therefore remains stagnant from the consequences of the choices made on earth (Sayers, Dante The Divine Comedy 1: Hell 120). This mere description of a damned soul’s fate already paints a distasteful picture of the nature of Hell