Thursday, July 19, 2012

THE INFERNO (THE DIVINE COMEDY) by DANTE ALIGHIERI (translated by John Ciardi)



071812. wednesday.

i’ve been eyeing The Divine Comedy ever since and finally somebody gave me the three books! the liberty to read all these is all mine, all mine! HAHA! i was so excited because it was the first time i was gonna read a classic. i was like, “for real?” HAHA! there’s something about the classic books that’s so special. HAHA. i know it’s kinda weird but it’s the truth. that’s what i think. HAHA.

first off, INFERNO.

obviously, this is about Dante’s journey, with the guidance of Virgil, through hell where he witnessed and encountered the worst of the worst. this is the first step to reach Paradiso. he, first, had to recognize the sins that humans (gods and goddesses also) committed. in this book, Dante discussed the transgressions according to their severity, which puts treachery at the last.

i love the creativity of Dante here when he thought of how each sin must have its equivalent and appropriate punishment. i mean, they were not just some penalty to make the sinners pay for what they’ve done but they were very fitting castigations. HAHA. i think it was the most imaginative element of Inferno.

i realized how complex and cruel each sin can be. it was like looking at the science of the offenses. Dante dissected the roots and consequences of every sin. he even showed that some of them have sub-categories, especially those found at lower hell.
i'd like to share my favorite statement from the book. this is a description of LUST which, i think, is its perfect explanation. HAHA.
honestly, i had a hard time reading because Dante talked about people, places and stories i don’t know. i am not very familiar with Roman history, Roman mythology, ancient philosophers, and the Holy Bible. you see i’ve heard some of the names he mentioned but i was not knowledgeable at all about whatever it was that made them worth mentioning in the book. i was clueless as hell. poor me. HAHA. thanks to the notes  found at the end of every chapter. they, at least, provided me things that would lead me to where the story’s going and to what was happening. if not for them, i think i’d be lost. HAHA! this is also the reason it took me a while to finish reading. i’d have to check on the notes from time to time. HAHA.

aside from that, i am not used to reading a story written in such style. Inferno is not in prose form, it is an epic poem. i was actually surprised at first ‘coz i had no idea that it’s like that. HAHA. the use of symbolisms made it an even subtler tale.

there were also times when i got confused. in Dante’s narrative, he merged mythology with Catholicism by citing sinners and events from both. i find it fascinating though. to me, it was another artistic approach to his book although i am not so sure what made him decide to do that. well, maybe because he grew up learning about these two things that he was able to find a way to relate one to the other. HAHA.

while going through the book, i learned ‘a few’ things about history and mythology. i said ‘a few’ since my mind doesn’t seem capable of retaining a lot (retention issues). HAHA! at least, i’ve learned somehow about Western (particularly Florence, Rome, Tuscany) civilization, culture and beliefs.

at the end of the day, i realized how sinful i am. HAHA. kidding aside, i got scared of what’s really gonna happen to me after i die. who can tell what awaits us afterlife? HAHA. suspension of disbelief -  if what’s in Inferno is real, i don’t even wanna imagine how it’d look like – darkness, foul odor, wailings of the damned, demons all around, hopelessness, eternal misery! just to think about it gives me goosebumps! man, that’s literally one hell of a place! HAHA.

don’t wanna prolong my agony so i’m gonna start with Purgatorio now. HAHA.

BTW, i’d like to thank ate delee for giving me the books! :))) more books to come! HAHA.

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