Italy’s greatest poet Dante 800 yrs. ago (Aquinas’ era) reduxed early Church father Augustine 800 yrs. before Dante on Wrath/Inferno

 

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inferno_(Dante)#Overview_and_vestibule_of_Hell

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Dante is at last rescued by the Roman poet Virgil, who claims to have been sent by Beatrice, and the two of them begin their journey to the underworld. Each sin’s punishment in Inferno is a contrapasso, a symbolic instance of poetic justice; for example, fortune-tellers have to walk forward with their heads on backward,  unable to see what is ahead, because they tried to see the future through forbidden means. Such a contrapasso “functions not merely as a form of divine revenge, but rather as the fulfilment of a destiny freely chosen by each soul during his or her life.”

Dante passes through the gate of Hell, which bears an inscription, the ninth (and final) line of which is the famous phrase “Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’intrate“, or “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”

Before entering Hell completely, Dante and his guide see the Uncommitted, souls of people who in life did nothing, neither for good nor evil; among these Dante recognizes either Pope Celestine V or Pontius Pilate (the text is ambiguous). Mixed with them are outcasts who took no side in the Rebellion of Angels. These souls are neither in Hell nor out of it, but reside on the shores of the Acheron, their punishment to eternally pursue a banner (i.e. self interest) while pursued by wasps and hornets that continually sting them as maggots and other such insects drink their blood and tears. This symbolizes the sting of their conscience and the repugnance of sin. This can also be seen as a reflection of the spiritual stagnation they lived in. As with the Purgatorio and Paradiso, the Inferno has a structure of 9+1=10, with this “vestibule” different in nature from the nine circles of Hell, and separated from them by the Acheron.

After passing through the “vestibule,” Dante and Virgil reach the ferry that will take them across the river Acheron and to Hell proper. The ferry is piloted by Charon, who does not want to let Dante enter, for he is a living being. Virgil forces Charon to take him by means of another famous line: Vuolsi così colà dove si puote, which translates to “So it is wanted there where the power lies,” referring to the fact that Dante is on his journey on divine grounds. The wailing and blasphemy of the damned souls entering Charon’s boat contrast with the joyful singing of the blessed souls arriving by ferry in the Purgatorio. However, the actual passage across the Acheron is undescribed since Dante faints and does not wake up until he is on the other side.

Virgil then guides Dante through the nine circles of Hell. The circles are concentric, representing a gradual increase in wickedness, and culminating at the centre of the earth, where Satan is held in bondage. Each circle’s sinners are punished in a fashion fitting their crimes: each sinner is afflicted for all of eternity by the chief sin he committed. People who sinned but prayed for forgiveness before their deaths are found not in Hell but in Purgatory, where they labour to be free of their sins. Those in Hell are people who tried to justify their sins and are unrepentant.

Allegorically, the Inferno represents the Christian soul seeing sin for what it really is. What the three beasts may represent has been the subject of much controversy over the centuries, but one suggestion is that they represent three types of sin: the self-indulgent, the violent, and the malicious.    These three types of sin also provide the three main divisions of Dante’s Hell: Upper Hell (the first 5 Circles) for the self-indulgent sins, Circles 6 and 7 for the violent sins, and Circles 8 and 9 for the malicious sins.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dante%27s_Satan

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In Dante’s Inferno, Satan is portrayed as a giant beast, frozen mid-breast in ice at the center of Hell. Satan has three faces and affixed under each chin are pairs of bat-like wings. As Satan beats his wings, he creates a cold wind which continues to freeze the ice surrounding him, and the other sinners in the Ninth Circle. The winds he creates are felt throughout the other circles of Hell. Each of his three mouths chew on Judas, Brutus, and Cassius. Scholars consider Satan to be “a once splendid being (indeed the most perfect of God’s creatures) from whom all personality has now drained away.”  Satan, also known as Lucifer, was formerly the Angel of Light and once tried to usurp the power of God. As punishment, God banishes Satan out of Heaven to an eternity in Hell as the ultimate sinner. Dante illustrates a less powerful Satan than most standard depictions; he is slobbering, wordless, and receives the same punishments in Hell as the rest of the sinners.

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Dante’s Hell is divided into nine circles, the ninth circle being divided further into four rings, their boundaries only marked by the depth of their sinners’ immersion in the ice; Satan sits in the last ring, Judecca. It is in the ninth circle where the worst sinners, the betrayers to their benefactors, are punished. Here, these condemned souls, frozen into the ice, are completely unable to move or speak and contorted into all sorts of fantastical shapes as a part of their punishment.

Unlike many other circles of Dante’s Hell, these sinners remain unnamed. Even Dante is afraid to enter this last circle, as he nervously proclaimed, “I drew behind my leader’s back again.”

Uncharacteristically of Dante, he remains silent in Satan’s presence. Dante examines the sinners who are “covered wholly by ice/, showing like straw in glass- some lying prone/, and some erect, some with the head towards us/, the others with the bottoms of the feet; another like a bow bent feet to face.” This circle of Hell is a complete separation from any life and for Dante, “the deepest isolation is to suffer separation from the source of all light and life and warmth.”  Satan’s punishment is the opposite of what he was trying to achieve, power and a voice over God. Satan also is in many ways, “the antithesis of Virgil; for he conveys at its sharpest the ultimate and universal pain of Hell; isolation.”   It is Virgil, Dante’s guide through hell, who tells Dante “that the inhabitants of the infernal region are those who have lost the good of intellect; the substance of evil, the loss of humanity, intelligence, good will, and the capacity to love.”    Satan stands at the center because he is the epitome of Dante’s Hell.

“He wept with all six eyes, and the tears fell over his three chins mingled with bloody foam. The teeth of each mouth held a sinner, kept as by a flax rake: thus he held three of them in agony.”

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Dante’s Satan remains a common image in popular portrayals. The answer to the question of how Satan wound up in the bottom of the pit in Dante’s Inferno lies in Christian theological history. Some interpretations of the Book of Isaiah, combined with apocryphal texts, explain that Satan was cast from Heaven, and fell to earth.    Satan, the angel, was caught up in his own beauty, power, and pride, and attempted to usurp God’s divine throne:

“I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit on the mount of assembly on the heights of Zaphon; I will ascend to the tops of the clouds, I will make myself like the Most High.”  

This immediately backfired on Satan, for he was no match for God. God sentenced him as a betrayer and banished him from Heaven. Dante uses this idea to create a physical place Satan created after his impact with the earth. According to Dante, the pit the Pilgrim climbs down to reach the center of Hell is literally the hole that Satan made when he fell to earth. The extra earth formed Mount Purgatory on the other side of the Earth.

 

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5 Responses to Italy’s greatest poet Dante 800 yrs. ago (Aquinas’ era) reduxed early Church father Augustine 800 yrs. before Dante on Wrath/Inferno

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  4. Pingback: Here we have Augustinian mystic Martin Luther — and Aquinas cognitive John Calvin — and yet, Bertrand Russell & Apostle John are Augustinian & Plato logos (analytical) epic movers — huli ‘au (upside down in Hawaiian), baby!

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