Our Journey Through Beloved

James Bonn, Yadelin Fernandez, Randall Lombardi, Margaret Pigliacelli, Abigail Ritz, Rickie Strong, and Eleanor Walker

Written in the fourteenth century, Dante’s Inferno has become a famous cosmological depiction of Hell, as well as a narrative interpreted by various writers throughout the centuries.  Dante’s descent through the nine circles of Hell with his spiritual guide Virgil teaches Dante the consequences for sinning through the punishments he observes in each circle of Hell.  After passing the first seven circles and interacting with various historical and mythological characters, Dante and Virgil arrive at the eighth circle of Hell via the monstrous Geryon.  The Eighth Circle known as the “Malebolge” contains the fraudulent and malicious sinners and is organized in a succession of ten ring-shaped valleys, or bolgias, that go deeper into Hell as they get closer into the center. Each valley has punishments that are specific to the crimes that are committed in relation to fraud. There are bridges over each of the valleys that the pilgrim and guide take; however, the bridge over the sixth valley has collapsed. This collapsed bridge forces Virgil and the Pilgrim to descend into the valley, in order to continue the journey. Dante sees Jason, the Greek hero, being punished for being a seducer in the first bolgia, where the sinners are punished  by being forced to walk single file forever, while demons whip them to keep order. In observing these punishments Dante’s character rediscovers his moral consciousness through the shift in his attitude towards the suffering souls. Initially only pitying few, Dante by the end of his journey through hell has developed empathy for all the souls he witnesses suffering, thus demonstrating Dante’s recovering of his moral way of life and illuminating the act of moral consideration.        

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Contrapasso and Divine Justice as Found in Toni Morrison’s Beloved

By Rachel Balfoort, Sydney Cannioto, Jenna Doolan, Thomas Gillingham, Cal Hoag, Dong Won Oh, and Helen Warfle

The Eighth Circle of Hell, as described in Dante’s Inferno, is distinct due to its geographical separation into malebolge, or evil ditches/pockets, depending on the translation. The types of sin punished in the malebolge — one circle away from the Ninth circle, where Satan himself is located—are some of the most severe, according to Dante. The sinners located here are pimps and seducers, flatters, simoniacs (members of the clergy selling divine favors), diviners, corrupt politicians, hypocrites, thieves, false counselors, schismatics (those who created division in their lives), and falsifiers —each of which have their own evil pocket and their own unique punishment. 

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