Observations placeholder

Dante - Inferno [overview]

Identifier

007279

Type of Spiritual Experience

Background

Almost the entire book of the Inferno is about Dante's allegorical descent into Hell to see what it was like, so the extracts I have provided are but a small selection. 

I also think, however, that the book was based on actual spiritual experiences in his depressed state, he combined what he saw with what he interpreted it to be.

 

A description of the experience

Dante – The Divine Comedy INFERNO I
CANTO XI

'My Son, within the circle of stone'
He then began, 'there are three smaller circles
Of graduated size, like those you are leaving

All of them are filled with accursed spirits
But so that later you have only to look at them
I will explain now how and why they are here

The object of all malice, which earns heaven's hatred,
Is injury; every object of that kind
Causes distress to others by force or fraud

And because fraud is an evil peculiar to men
It displeases God the more, and therefore the fraudulent
Are placed beneath and greater pain assails them

The first circle in given over to the violent,
But as force may be against three persons
The circle is construed in three distinct rings

Force may be used against God, one's self or one's neighbour
And against what belongs to each of them
As you will hear openly explained

 ..................

Violent death and wounds which cause pain
May be given to a neighbour; while as to his belongings
There is wrecking, arson and destructive extortion

So homicide and those who use violence wrongly
Wreckers and robbers, are all of them tormented
In the first ring and in distinct troops.

A man can lay violent hands on himself
And on his goods; and therefore the second ring
Is properly for the profitless repentance

Of those who deprive themselves of the world
Gamble away and waste their property
And weep in circumstances which should make them happy

..................................

Fraud, by which every conscience is bitten,
A man may practise on a person who trusts him
Or upon one who has no confidence in him

This latter mode cuts only the bond of love
Which nature of itself establishes
And so there are, lodged in the second circle

Hypocrisy, flatterers, and those who delude,
Falsity, thieving and simony,
Pimps, trouble makers and all such like scum

In the other mode, the love that is forgotten
Is not only what is natural, but what is added
By the creation of particular obligations;

So, in the smaller circle, at the centre
Of the universe, which is the seat of Dis
Every traitor is for ever consumed 

The source of the experience

Dante Alighieri

Concepts, symbols and science items

Concepts

Demons
Hate
Hell

Symbols

Hell

Science Items

Activities and commonsteps

Activities

Overloads

HATE
Insecurity
Loneliness and isolation

Suppressions

Manic depression

Commonsteps

References