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Word Count: 917
In Dantes Inferno the poet devised tortures for his collection of sinners that in some way fit the crimes they committed in life But Dantes tortures also reflect a vision of Hell that is very different from that which we imagine through popular culture His hell is not a lake of fire but rather a series of concentric rings winding into the earth and the very deepest part is not burning hot but freezing cold In this ice a group of sinners who have betrayed their family is trapped for ever For Dante being frozen in ice clearly symbolizes being immured in ones sins In Canto XXXII Dante comes across a lake of sinners locked in ice up to their waists or as Dante says the place where shame can show itself Dante XXXII 34-35 This is the ring of Hell for those who have done violence to their relatives hence that rungs name Caina so called after the man in the Biblical book of Genesis who killed his brother in cold blood The symbolism of the ice then becomes clear Just as in the upper rungs of Hell two lovers buffeted by their passions are forever buffeted by wind and the wrathful fight in the mud of their own accusations we find that these individuals encased in ice are people who during life have rejected the warmth of human love These people having done some violence to their blood relations have thereby denied themselves the joy derived from a loving family as they have denied their own flesh and blood the joy of life Virgil cautions Dante to be careful not to walk on these poor unfortunate souls because prior to Virgils warning Dante hadnt even noticed them It is clear Virgil feels that the agony these people must endure for eternity is excessive punishment for what may have been an unpremeditated sin and one in which they received their
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