Dantes Inferno Paper

Submitted By karatebabe77
Words: 824
Pages: 4

Jess Foderaro
Dr. Ali
Western Heritage II
May 1, 2014
Essay One: Inferno In this paper I will discuss Canto three of Dante’s Inferno, where Dante the poet presents a character named Charon. It is misleading to think that the character is punished because of how he was originally assigned the job as the ferryman, as a superficial reading might suggest. Charon has “lost the good of the intellect” (3.18) in the following sense that he is being used as an essential “tool” to help the deceased sinners across the river. Hell is the place for lost souls that, according to Dante, deserved to be punished. These souls do not have any idea why they ended up in hell. Dante the poet is quite ambiguous on why certain people deserve to be on certain levels; for example, the first level of hell is a castle with a lot of amenities. One would not come to the conclusion that this is a punishment when thinking about the stereotypical description of the underworld. When the sinners arrive in hell, they are greeted at the gates with an intimidating statement that ends with the phrase “ABANDON EVERY HOPE, WHO ENTER HERE.” (3.9). Arriving at the gate alone is enough to strike the fear of the unknown into an unfortunate soul. One of the first people that the reader gets introduced to in this book is named Charon. Charon is described as “an aged man – his hair was white with years…” (3.83). He is considered a guide for the lost souls, only because helps them across the river towards the banks on the other side so they are able to continue on their journey towards eternal darkness and suffering with no hope of achieving the glory of heaven. Virgil and Dante are confronted rather early in Canto III. They see Charon approaching from a boat in the distance. Virgil, Dante, and the lost souls surrounding them are yelled at by the old ferryman. He arrives and tells them to about how they lost their hope of glory and are going to suffer the consequences for their negative actions that took place while they were still alive. The old ferryman comes over towards the two living souls and acknowledges the fact that they are actually alive. Charon tells them that “another way and other harbors – not here – will bring you passage to your shore: a lighter craft will have to carry you.” (3.91-93). Dante and Virgil reply by saying they were sent from above and that it is in fact God’s will that they are allowed across the river, and that he asks no more of Charon in accordance with their journey through the fiery depths of the earth. The reader may come to the conclusion that the reason why Charon was hesitant to allow Dante and Virgil to cross the great river is because they are indeed still alive and are still in their human flesh. A ferry is only so big, and Virgil and Dante were most likely one of the first living souls to make the journey through the underworld. A soul is weightless, and would not have any effect on the ability of the ferry to cross the river. Charon does allow them across eventually, but only because of the will of God. Charon quickly went from a guide for the