Dante Inferno; Canto 7 Essay

1485 Words May 21st, 2013 6 Pages
Canto XIII: A Loss of Identity, A Loss of Faith

In Canto XIII, Dante enters the second subcircle of the seventh ring of Hell, reserved for those who commit violence against themselves. Here, the contrapasso of suicide is becoming a part of the thorned and treacherous woods. Although this seems odd as the idea of a contrapasso is, “the punishment fits the crime,” and other punishments seem much harsher, the real workings of the contrapasso are shown once Dante speaks to the souls. Here it is revealed to Dante that these souls are constantly reminded that they have willingly given up what is most important to them, their identity. In turn, they must suffer for abandoning the bond that existed between them and God.
The contrapasso in
…show more content…
One soul expresses, “My spirit, at the taste of disdain, believing by death to flee disdain, made me unjust against my just self,” (XIII, 70-73). This shows that the souls now realize that when they had taken their life, they had essentially thrown away their identity and any chance at paradise. When judgment does come, the bodies of the confined souls are hung onto their branches and they are forced to look upon themselves, but never actually reunite with the bodies that they willingly gave up, and in essence never regaining the identity that they abandoned. This punishment is extremely spiteful however entirely appropriate. The lost souls now realize the errors of their ways and must repent and ponder their horrific mistake for all eternity.
Another example of the loss of identity within the contrapasso comes through the depiction of numerous souls all within the woods as unidentifiable branches that make up an enormous assortment of dead vegetation. This shows how the souls have been entirely stripped of any sense of individuality. No soul can be told apart as all seem to appear the same. This is shown similarly in Canto I when Dante himself comes, “to myself in a dark wood, for the straight way was lost,” (I, 1-2). Dante finds himself in some woods seemingly lost in his relationship with God, and because of this he understands that he must embark on a journey seeking for an undisputable truth. Woods throughout the story

Related Documents