Thursday, February 7, 2008

Abandon All Hope (Dante's Inferno)

All hope abandon, ye who enter here! - Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri

It's not a comedy. The word used back then meant something that starts off bad and eventually ends well. Not "Comedy - ha ha."

I'm reading La Commedia de Dante. All of it: Inferno, Purgatorio & Paradiso. Written in the years 1308-1321.

Again, I say: All hope abandon, ye who enter here!

Unfortunately it is slow going. I must have complete quiet when I read this. Hence, the slow going. How often do I get complete quiet? Exactly. I am currently in Purgatory, and I mean that in both the literal & figurative sense of the word.

Inferno, or Hell, was a very interesting book. Many of you know what's in it, you just don't know you know. I didn't but as I read I remember things and say "Oh yea!"

You got your 9 levels of Hell.
Dante\'s Inferno

Dante, the author, is also the main character. Trying to get away from a mountain lion, he's led away by the spirit of the poet Virgil.....through hell. couldn't go up a hill or something?

Virgil's a good soul, just not baptized, so he's at the upper-most level of hell. He can't even make purgatory becaue he was never baptized. Bummer.

The story tells of the descent into the 9 levels of hell and all the people down there. They have to walk through it to get to the other side. Too long to explain, my dears. Wiki that if you want more.

My main interest is that this Italian man had some serious nerve for the 1300's. Here he is, putting to blast all of the political, rich, religious people of his time. He's calling out POPE'S for Pete's sake, and putting them in hell! Back then, that was not a joke. Imagine putting your political enemy down in level 3 or 8?

There are people swimming in ordure (feces - I had to look that one up), people stuck in walls, head-first, while feet get fire set to them. Men who prostitued their women (wives, sisters) get beaten with whips by demons. Pretty crazy stuff.

There is even an instance of a man's spirit being in hell, but Dante knows full well that the man is alive and well up on Earth. Why?

"Methinks thou mockest me" says Dante. "For Bianca Doria never hath died, but doth all natural functions of a man, eats, drinks, and sleeps and putteth on rainment"

"Know that the soul, the moment she betrays, as I did, yields her body to a fiend who after, moves and governs it at will," says Doria

Does this remind anyone of some lore we know? Little hint:
angel and spike

Finished Inferno a week or so ago and I am now ever-so-slowly making it through Purgatory.

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