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No Exit And Inferno Essay, Research Paper

From folklore to fairy tales there is the use of violent action to convey a specific message to the readers because violence never occurs without having a point to be made. Violent scenes often are the most gruesome and horrific yet they can contribute to the entire meaning of a work. Violence in a story always has a hidden purpose, and is there to enhance the inner meaning of the story while offering an extremely graphic visual to its readers. In Dante?s The Inferno and Satre?s No Exit, there are numerous accounts of violent imagery expressed through precise diction and symbolism that captivate the reader to experience ?hell? through the eyes of the authors.

Each direct physical setting of the circles of hell in the Inferno show a unique atmosphere in which there is a parallel between the sins committed on earth and the punishment. The similarity between sin and punishment of each circle of hell maximizes the level of gruesome violence. This can be easily seen in the third circle of hell, the gluttons are punished by being forced to live in a garbage dump, in an environment they never could survive while actually living. They live half buried in a snowy hell as Cerebus, the three-headed dog, eagerly rips and tears their bodies to pieces. Another instance of violence is clearly seen in circle seven: round one where Violence Against One?s Neighbors are immersed into a bloody river while Centaurs are waiting on the sides with arrows. Also, in all the circles of hell minus limbo there is constant reference to the wailing and fiendish noise of hell this adds to the realistic imagery of this terrifying underworld. It is this descriptive diction in the numerous cantos that allow the reader to truly experience ?hell? to it?s fullest.

The scenes of violence are continuously read in each canto, from an intense war amongst the Hoarders & Wasters, to the Suicides who are encased in thorny trees, and the Grafters who are stuck in boiling pitch and are torn to pieces by demons. These scenes contribute to the complete meaning of the Inferno because in hell one must imagine the vivid graphic punishments of each circle in order to comprehend the severity of the sins committed. The Inferno is seen through Dante?s eyes; so with his finite detail of each circle it enables the reader to experience the violence surrounding them on each page. Without the violence seen in each canto, one would not be able to truly comprehend the severity of hell. It is through the descriptive violent punishments that the reader is allowed to see the error in the ways of the hell-ridden sinners.

In No Exit the scenes of violence are not as apparently descriptive as Inferno yet they manage to invoke the same sense of disgust, pity, and loathing in the reader. The violence is not evident in the first pages; these pages are used to set the tone of hopelessness, with the detailed description of the hotel room. From beginning to end, Sartre constitutes an ironical sense with having the characters see hell as a hotel suite, this atmosphere gives the readers the idea that this could never be hell because the lack of flaming pits and pointy tailed devils. This edge surprises the readers into thinking that hell can be anyplace in the world because it is the state of mind and punishment that makes it truly hell. The scenes of violence that follow are found within the framework of the story, each character speaks of their reason as to why they are destined into hell. While Estelle’s hands are tarnished with the murder of her own baby, both Garcin and Inez are indirectly responsible for the death of those close to them. All three characters are pathetic examples of humankind; nonetheless, Estelle, Garcin and Inez all exist with no real purpose and therefore are damned to suffer not only in their life, but their afterlife.

Dante’s Inferno and Jean Paul Sartre’s No Exit illustrate violence in their setting in similar ways, such that there are no second chances in life. Both works take the readers into the minds of their authors where each gives their interpretation of hell. Through vivid imagery, representation of ideas, and finite physical details each author manages to paint a dramatic and colorful picture of hell, yet also reinforces his theme. When Dante wrote The Inferno his mind thrived on the different levels of interpretation; likewise, Jean Paul Sartre’s mind thrived on this, and he patterned No Exit after Dante’s work. These various literary devices transform a work of literature into a masterpiece with which readers can identify, appreciate, and truly understand; yet also taking them to the next level.


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