LIT 101: Inferno

Below is a short excerpt from Canto IV (lines 25-42) to give you an overview of where we are, but I just want you to focus on the lines in bold. 

In this excerpt, Dante and Virgil (the master) are in the First Circle of Hell, Limbo. As said in the text, Limbo  is the place where virtuous souls that pre-existed Christianity and baptism are settled. It is also mentioned in lines 28-30 that there is an incomprehensible grief in Limbo that is manifested through the sighs of souls that echo through the depths of Limbo. If these souls, as mentioned in the text, had done nothing wrong in their earthly life and had even earned honor in their earthly existence, why are they in Limbo? What does these lines mean? 
"For these defects, and for no other evil,we now are lost and punished just with this:we have no hope and yet we live in longing." IV, 40-42
Are these people to be blamed if they lived in a society that believes in a heaven that is made up of earthly glory? What do you think guys? I'll just leave this post hanging for a while. Please feel free to share your thoughts and opinions. If you want to clarify something, feel free to ask. :)


------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Canto IV*
25-42

So he set out, and so he had me enter
on that first circle girdling the abyss.
Here, for as much as hearing could discover,
there was no outcry louder than the sighs
that caused the everlasting air to tremble.
The sighs arose from sorrow without torments,
out of the crowds--the many multitudes--
of the infants and of women and of men.

The kindly master said: "Do you not ask
who are these spirits whom you see before you?
I'd have you know, before you go ahead,
they did not sin; and yet, though they have merits,
that's not enough, because they lacked baptism,
the portal of the faith that you embrace.
And if they lived before Christianity,
they did not worship God in fitting ways;
and of such spirits I myself am one.
For these defects, and for no other evil,
we now are lost and punished just with this:
we have no hope and yet we live in longing."


*This version of the text is taken from Allen Mandelbaum's translation (2004) of Dante Alighieri's Inferno.

4 comments:

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laurice-with-love said...

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laurice-with-love said...

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