Introduction:Why did I choose this topic? Main part:My observations ( Interesting characters / Influence on moral structure ) Conclusion: When I read The Inferno without any prior cognition of the relationship between the Greek and Roman cultures I was confused by Dante’s design of Hell. Dante has placed the characters whose sins included lust, wrath, and violence in the upper circles of Hell; in the lower, more evil circles are sinners who lied, deceived, and committed treason. The Inferno as I said earlier has a lot of references to Greek culture ( Greek Mythology ), and in that topic I’d like to tell you aboutcharacters whose made me think. At the first sight, names of protectors of each circle were not so interesting for me.
In my opinion, the main reason is explanation of their functions in hell: Canto 3 “All those who perish in the wrath of God Here meet together out of every land; And ready are they to pass o’er the river, Because celestial Justice spurs them on, So that their fear is turned into desire. This way there never passes a good soul; And hence if Charon doth complain of thee, Well mayst thou know now what his speech imports.”In that part of poem we recognized that Charon resolves problem of transportation.
In mythology Charon carries souls of the newly deceased across therivers Styx and Acheron that divided the world of theliving from the world of the dead. A coin to pay Charon for passage, generallyan obolus or danake, which were sometimes placed in or on the mouth of a dead man. Canto5 There standeth Minos horribly, and snarls; Examines the transgressions at the entrance; Judges, and sends according as he girds him. In circle two, Minos judges the sinners and decides how they will serve one’s sentence. Minos as I know is a son of Zeus and Europe whom we knowfrom Greek Mythology. Also in Homer’s Odyssey our character plays the same role of judge in another world: “Minos,glorious son of Zeus… holding a golden sceptre, and passing judgments on thedead, who stood and sat around the king, seeking justice, throughout thespacious gates of Hades’ home” (Homer, 11.733-37) According to the Odyssey he spoke with Zeus every nine years or fo r nine years.
He got his laws straight from Zeus himself. When Minos’ son Androgeos had won the Panathenaic Games theking, Aegeus, sent him to Marathon to fight a bull, resulting in the death of Androgeos. Outraged, Minos went to Athens to avenge his son, and on the way he camped at Megara where Nisos lived. Learning that Nisos’ strength came from his hair, Minos gained the love of Scylla and her aid in cutting off her father’s hair so that he could conquer the city. However, After the victory, hepunished Scylla for her treachery against her father by tying her to a boat and dragging her until she drowned. I cannot explain his decision, but he was just or cruel. Perhaps, it was one of the reasons why Dante used this character to judging sinners. Canto 6Cerberus, monster cruel and uncouth, With his three gullets like a dog is barking Over the people that are there submerged.
Red eyes he has, and unctuous beard and black, And bellylarge, and armed with claws his hands; He rends the spirits, flays, and quarters them. Cerberuslooked like a three-headed dog with a snake’s tail, on the back of asnake’s head, as eerie as his mother. According to other descriptions, he has50 heads or 100 heads, and in another mythology, he is depicted with a humanpowerful body and hands and one head of a mad dog. In one of the hands was asevered head of a bull that killed with its breath and on the other hand the head of a goat, which with its eyes hit the victims. In the works ofvase painting sometimesdepicted biceps.