Following my second level inquiry, here are tasks of the third and final level inquiry, still for my WEM Self-Project.
Is there a moment of choice or of change in the poem?
Before entering the Hell, Dante seems to be in a comfort of his life. It is Beatrice (the woman he loves) who sends Virgil to guide Dante to the path of salvation. So, if there is a change, it would be in Dante himself, before and after he witnesses punishments and hopelessness provided for sinners, and in that he warns us to not fall into the same hole.
Is there cause and effect?
Dante must have related his own life and experiences in this poem, as most of the time he would speak about Florence and the city’s political movements. Besides historical and mythical characters, Dante also puts numbers of Florence people onto the circles of Hell. It seems that Dante wants to punish them for their failures (according to him). So, yes, I think there is cause and effect in Dante’s mind, and he might have reflected very hard to set those sinners and the level of their punishments.
What is the tension between the physical and psychological, the earthly and the spiritual, the mind and the body?
In writing those punishments in amazing details, Dante has tried to transform the physical experience he brought us to imagine, to a spiritual enlightenment. Whatever the sin, the punishments will take much longer and severe than the deeds; it makes us think how unworthy it is to ever do those sins!
What is the poem’s subject?
A warning to Florence people and to all human kind, that each sin must lead to a just punishment.
Do you feel sympathy?
I sympathize with all human kind who is at present still in their path of life. Many of us take it for granted in living our daily lives, making our worldly business the most real thing and treating religion as an abstract thing to do.
As for the characters in the Hell circles, maybe my sympathy goes to them who are in Limbo. Some of them might have lived a good life without sins, but because they were born before Christ or have not been introduced to Him, they must linger within the Limbo. It’s really not their choices, and in a way it’s almost unfair for them. But anyway, it reminds me too of how much I must be grateful that God had put me to be Christian.