What Does The Wood Symbolize In Dante's Inferno

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Dante’s Inferno depicts the journey through the circles of Hell embarked upon by a character who shares his namesake, and his companion-guide Virgil. Throughout the nine circles he is met by various sinners of increasing degree. The punishments they receive are meant to be fitting and are therefore symbolic of the sins that were perpetrated above in the land of the living. Dante’s tale also includes the passage to hell in which he is met by creatures acting as a foreshadowing of what awaits him within. Great effort is made by Dante to paint a detailed picture for the reader that is both horrible and realistic. His use of symbols helps to make sense of what the reader is seeing; it also helps to make the unknown familiar and logical. At …show more content…
Woods can be mysterious places, often dark and full of danger, perfect imagery for a place representing evil. The most notable forest is called the wood of suicides. Upon reaching this point, within circle seven, Dante can hear voices of the damned but sees no shades crying out. Virgil prompts him to break off a piece of a plant and discovers that the trees growing here are the damned. They have been made into plants, grown from a seeds dropped by Minos. Once they grow, harpies feast on their leaves, causing everlasting torture and pain. These damned souls are condemned for violence against self. The planting of a seed to grown into a full tree is symbolic of their life above. They were given the gift of life but instead of treasuring it they wasted it. They grown from nothing into a full tree and are continuously tortured. This is likely the lot in life damned were attempting to escape, unbearable pain of a sort, and now it is their destiny to endure the same forever. Dante, ever inquisitive, asks a damned soul if there is any escape from this fate. He learns that on judgement day when all souls return to their bodies, those here in the wood will not be allowed to rejoin the bodies that they themselves cast off. They will drag their bodies back to the forest and hang them from the trees and thus creating a wood of suicides in the truest

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