Dante’s Inferno Canto Iii Explication

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Dante’s Inferno Canto III Explication Canto III begins with Dante reading an inscription above the Gates of Hell. From where Dante is standing, the screams and cries of the damned souls can be heard. These souls were rejected by God and not accepted by Hell; therefore these souls can be found “nowhere” because of their cowardly refusal to choose between God and Satan during their life. Their punishment is to be tormented by wasps and hornets for eternity while remaining in the Ante-Inferno. Dante uses precise descriptive imagery and symbolism to expose the perverse affliction these unfortunate souls are forced to endure and illustrates an insight to their previous life and current suffering to the reader. The souls found in Canto III are the ones that are caught in limbo. The people found here did not choose between God and Satan during their lifetime and therefore are stuck in the Ante-Inferno because of their inability to do so; which gives the impression that they are cowardly. Their appearance can be described as naked and covered in stings (65) from the wasps and hornets that are constantly circling above their heads (66). This allows the reader to have an idea of the pain and suffering the souls must endure for eternity. Upon first contact, a wasp sting brings immediate pain. The initial sensation feels like a sharp or burning discomfort; like being pricked with a needle. It normally causes minor swelling and redness in the area where the stinger punctured the skin. After only a few hours or minutes, the pain usually subsides. The overall sensation is rather harmless and not seen as a truly painful thing. The doomed souls suffer this constant nagging, burning pain over and over again. The pain of these two stings may explain the pain that they may have suffered during their lifetime. A consistent sting represents a nagging, harmless pain they
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