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Midway through the journey of our life I foundmyself in a dark wood for I had strayedfrom the straight pathway to this tangled ground These famous lines from Dantes Inferno signify the themes of religion and personal salvation in the poem Often when one embarks on a journey of self-discovery they travel to places which astound one by their strangeness Expecting to see what is straightforward and acceptable one is suddenly presented with exceptions Just as such self-examiners might encounter their inner demons so does Dante both as a character and a writer as he sets out to walk through his Inferno The image of being lost in dark woods sets up a clear dichotomy between the supposed unenlightened ignorance that one endures due to a lack of faith in God and the clear radiance provided by Gods love Dante uses contrasting symbols to indicate the characters challenge The dark woods embodies Dantes fear yet the right road symbolizes his confidence in God ultimately revealing that Dantes journey is to find the presence of God in a sinful world However the journey upon which Dante is embarking is not solely his but rather that of every human being Consistent with the views of his time Dante believes that this journey is one that every individual must undertake so as to understand their sins and find peace with God This is an element with which modern readers can identify as present society is conscious of an individuals right to find peace within themselves and the universe While there are many different religions and divine beings which are worshipped today the medieval view of personal salvation and spiritual peace is still applicable to any of these variations Dantes journey throughout the Inferno also gives readers a glimpse into his own perception of what constitutes sin It may be harder however for modern readers to agree with the punishment for certain sins in light of liberal advances in
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