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Inferno by Dante - decoding the inscription

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lunarolivian's picture
Joined: Dec 2005
Inferno by Dante - decoding the inscription

Hey all, I am working on an english lit paper and I was hoping for some input. For all those who have read Inferno by Dante, here's the ?> Discuss the meaning of the inscription over the gate of Hell in light of the poem. I've done some research on sparknotes, dictionary.com, and googled a bunch of stuff.

Here's what I have info-wise:

Dante reads these lines, which he finds inscribed on the Gate of Hell, as he and Virgil pass into the Ante-Inferno before the river Acheron in Canto III (III.1–7). These lines may be said to represent the voice of Hell, as they declare its nature, origin, and purpose, and thus pave the way for what is to come throughout the poem. First, the inscription portrays Hell as a city, which defines much of the geography of the poem—Hell is a geographically contained area bound by walls and containing a vast population of souls. Hell is thus a grotesque counterpart to Heaven, which Virgil describes as the city of God. Second, the inscription portrays Hell as a place of eternal woes, pain, and loss, situating it as the center of God’s strict punishment of sinners, a place from which there is supposed to be no escape (“abandon all hope”). from sparknotes

The inscription over the gates of Hell in Canto III explicitly states that God was moved to create Hell by justice (III.7). Hell exists to punish sin, and the suitability of Hell’s specific punishments testify to the divine perfection that all sin violates. From sparknotes

often Hope Christianity. The theological virtue defined as the desire and search for a future good, difficult but not impossible to attain with God's help. From dictionary.com

Hell - A state of separation from God; exclusion from God's presence. (dictionary.com)

The inscription above the open Gate of Hell is made especially ominous by the repetition of the words, "Through me," three times. Dante is here made aware of the judgmental nature of God. Virgil immediately cautions him against cowardice (14-15), for unlike the sinners they will witness, Dante still has the intellect with which to see clearly and achieve salvation. http://home.earthlink.net/~zimls/summaries.html#top

Having unlimited or universal power, authority, or force; all-powerful.
One having unlimited power or authority: the bureaucratic omnipotents.
Omnipotent God. Used with the. dictionary.com

So I pretty much know what to talk about, but any suggestions of little extras to put in there would be greatly apreciated. Thanks to everyone.

“What is it, what nameless, inscrutable, unearthly thing is it; what cozening, hidden lord and master, and cruel, remorseless emperor commands me?” - Ahab - From Moby Dick

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