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Published: 31-08-2019

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The Punishment for Those Who Committed Suicide in Dante Alighieri's Inferno

In Canto XIII of Dante’s Inferno, those who committed suicide are punished. Like in the other circles of the inferno, the punishments for these who committed suicide is straight linked to the nature of their sin. In the case of those who committed suicide, the souls are not given bodies as other souls in the Inferno but rather they are made into trees and fibrous plants which are torn and broken. Since those who committed suicide discarded their body on earth, they are created to endure without having a physique. (Musa 67)

The variety of punishment that souls suffer for the sin of suicide discloses Dante’s view of that sin. Especially, it discloses what Dante believes drives a individual to commit suicide, how suicide is offensive to God, and how really culpable the offending soul is. With each other, he demonstrates how much pity, he believes, ought to be shown to a given suffering soul.

The beginning of Canto XIII discloses what Dante believes drives a individual to commit the sin of suicide as he describes the bushes and trees that he sees as he writes,

“No green leaves, but rather black in color,

No smooth branches, but twisted and entangled,

No fruit, but thorns of poison bloomed instead” (Inf. XIII, four-6).

The black leaves lacking color are analogous to a suicidal human being who, although his lungs are breathing and his heart is beating, lacks the beauty of life and is spiritually dead. He is physically alive but his spirit is dead and he has lost the will to reside. That is why he also cannot bear great fruit and any product that does come forth from him does not market life. Rather, the only factor that comes from this blackened spirit is poison that kills and harms that which comes near it.

The twisted and entangled branches represent the twisted reasoning that drives a individual to think that suicide is the greatest selection. An instance of this is given once more when Dante speaks to Pier Delle Vigne and Pier says,

“My thoughts, moved by scornful satisfaction,

Believing that death would totally free me from all scorn,

Made me unjust to me, who was all just” (Inf. XIII, 70-72).

Pier, getting placed so considerably faith in his status in the royal court, believed that he had lost every thing when his standing fell in the eyes of Frederick. In that moment, his entangled method of values and twisted reasoning led him to think that the only relief in living was to die. He valued some thing fickle and temporary more than his personal life which made him think that life, which was the 1 issue that couldn’t be diminished by the royal court, was not worth living. In that respect, his thoughts and reasoning was as entangled, illogical, and twisted as the branches he now has in the Inferno.

The punishment of the suicides also discloses Dante’s view of how suicide is so offensive to God. God gives folks the present of life and of physique. He gives a life that individuals are supposed to live searching for to be virtuous and happy—making certain to properly worth and recognize the gifts God has provided them. In committing suicide, folks disregard and discard the gift of the physique God had given them and disregard God’s get in touch with for them to seek happiness and virtue in the planet. In the instance of Pier Delle Vigne, Pier now has to bear all the pain of having a body with none of the benefit each and every broken and torn branch becoming as painful as a human getting obtaining their limbs torn off. Pier cries,

“’Why are you tearing me?’”

And when its blood turned dark about the wound,

It began saying more: ‘Why do you rip me?

Have you no sense of pity whatsoever?’” (Inf. XIII, 33-36).

Getting failed to properly enjoy and care for his physique, Pier now suffers an existence of discomfort and bleeding without any of the benefit that having an actual physique brings.

This sort of disregarding of God’s gifts is also demonstrated in the comments created by the Florentine when he says,

“I turned my home into my hanging place” (Inf. XIII, 151).

God calls all folks to live a content and healthful life, enjoying the gift of bodily living. God desires men and women to take their life and make anything stunning out of it—devoting life to virtue, art, and service of other people. God provides men and women life so that they can do factors that are life providing. When the Florentine hangs himself, he discards the get in touch with to be life providing and makes his home, which is supposed to be the center of life giving acts, a place of death. By disposing of God’s greatest gift to him, which is providing him life, he disrespects God Himself.

As Dante descends into the Inferno, the extent of his pity towards the suffering souls progressively decreases as he meets souls that committed more grievous sins. However, in Canto XIII, Dante’s level of pity truly increases toward these souls. Just previously, Dante didn’t have any pity in Canto XII toward the sinners boiling in blood, even though in Canto XIII he is moved to pity and shock. At 1st, he is shocked right after he breaks the branch of Pier Delle Vigne,

“So from that splintered trunk a mixture poured

Of words and blood. I let the branch I held

Fall from my hand and stood there stiff with fear” (Inf. XIII, 40-42).

Later, Dante confirms how fantastic his shock and pity are towards Pier Delle Vigne when he says,

“’Why do not you hold on questioning,’ I said

‘And ask him, for my portion, what I would ask,

for I can not, such pity chokes my heart’ (Inf. XIII, 82-84).

This feeling of guilt for his contributing to the suffering of Pier Delle Vigne and pity for Pier reveals that Dante, whilst recognizing the gravity of the sin, believes that these who committed suicide had been not in complete manage of themselves. As such, they deserve pity because, much like Francesca and Paolo, they committed the sin they did as a result of the circumstances they faced at that moment and not due to the fact they had been evil or really seeking malice. Of course, they are in the Inferno and, according to Dante, they deserve to be in Inferno because of the gravity of the sin and the truth that they did not seek God’s forgiveness. That getting said, Dante recognizes that these who commit suicide have no opportunity to seek God’s forgiveness following they commit suicide. Because the consequence of their sin is death itself, they do not have a likelihood to repent for their sin. Furthermore, the reality that those who commit suicide are faced with an entangled mind and twisted reasoning signifies that they cannot make a decision in accurate freedom or with a clear mind.

Dante’s opinions and interior conflicts are place on display in the Inferno. In how he describes who is in the Inferno, their punishments, and how and no matter whether or not to pity them he discloses what he thinks about morality, theology, and the culpability of man in regard to different sins. He makes use of his information of theology to describe the punishment of numerous sins in accordance with how wonderful he perceives the gravity of a given sin to be. He condemns those who seek vice with the full capability to seek virtue, and pities those who did not have complete faculties of mind and heart to keep away from the sin they committed. In Canto XIII he appears upon these sinners who discarded the greatest gifts God had provided them, their body and life, with pity. These souls have been not given a possibility to repent for a sin they committed below excellent stress and distress. These are souls that committed a grave error and by no means had a chance to modify their decision or make up for their mistake.
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