Dante's Divine Comedy: Fear As A Propaedeutic

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Fear as a Propaedeutic
(Dante’s use of fear as a propaedeutic) Dante Alighieri wrote a famous book called Dante’s Divine Comedy in the 1300s that is still used in classrooms today. The most famous text of Dante’s Divine Comedy is an epic poem called Dante’s Inferno. In this epic poem Dante makes a trip through Hell, purgatory, and heaven. Virgil serves as Dante’s guide through the underworld. Dante uses Virgil as his guide because Dante says that Virgil is the best poet of all time. Virgil and Dante are both Roman Catholic. Virgil wrote many important texts, the most important being The Aeneid. Many can see throughout the text how “Dante had a deep respect for Virgil as an author” (Rooney). Dante was fully aware of Virgil’s text The Aeneid
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Using fear in Inferno can cause people to fix themselves as well. Dante said “without hope we live in desire” (27). Some may say that by writing this text Dante is trying to instill hope in people before it is too late. Some say that “Dante is still carrying his childlike fears and troubles” (Girvin). One might take this assumption and say that deep down inside everybody is still carrying their childlike fears and trouble. By recognizing of all this one would know that Dante realizes that this text frightens everyone that reads. But this text does more than just frighten people. This text makes people realize exactly what they are doing. By reading this text readers can connect to other sins characters in this book have committed. This will cause the reader to identify every sin they are committing and actually try to fix them. By using fear as a propaedeutic in Inferno it causes people to analyze everything they have been doing in their life and give them a chance to fix it while there is still …show more content…
Some might think that hearing all of the torments and tortures that happen to sinners in Hell isn’t enough for them to completely change what they are doing. Dante says in Canto one of Inferno, “In the middle of the journey of our life I came to myself in a dark wood where the straight way was lost” (11). In the beginning of Inferno Dante is lost in a dark forest. Some say this is a metaphor where in fact he doesn’t know which is right or wrong anymore. This moment comes to most people. People will have a moment and realize that they need to figure what is right for themselves. Philip Schaff says in his book Theological Propædeutic; a General Introduction to the Study of Theology that “the production of human hope and fear, especially fear” is vital to one’s education (Schaff 38). While fear might do the job for most people, other’s need to know why heaven is the place to go to. Hell will still scare these people and make them want to clean up their act, but it won’t completely convince them. For the few people that want to decide to go to heaven on their own they need to know why heaven instead of hell, even if it is obvious. The usage of fear will sometimes only work on the yokels, the ones that blindly follow what everyone else is

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