How does the Contrapasso Fits Punishment?.
The punishments of the dammed in The Inferno have a special meaning, because they explain in the form of an allegory how the sinners had to suffer for the faults they committed in their lives. The author uses these forms of physical pain to represent how the dammed had to pay for their sins. They where punish in such a way, because they have chosen to, and not because God had ordered. The contrapasso has a very important function in this poem, because it reflects how Dante manipulated the sins of the dammed in order to create punishments that fit exactly for the faults they committed.
Most types of sufferings are quite strange, but they have a very precise way of explaining what their sinners made in order to get those punishments. In this essay we are going to fully examine three forms of contrapasso.
The first type of suffering is held by the sin against oneself, or in other words the person that has committed suicide. It is located in the seven circle of Hell; better known as the circle of violence and bestial brutality. Specifically in the second ring, which "a pathless of woods, where the harpies sit and shriek among the withered trees, which enclose the souls of the suicides" (Sayers, notes Canto XIII).The trees are the new bodies of these souls; they have to live forever in that static position, and the harpies are constantly eating their lives. The harpies are brutal animals; they are a mixture of birds with human faces. They cause pain to the souls that committed suicide by ripped of their leaves and eating them. Here the image of Pier delle Vigne appears in the poem. Throughout his life he was a very noble and loyal man. "He was at the height of his power in 1247, but two years later he was accused of treachery, and was thrown into prison and blinded, and soon after he committed suicide" (Hollander, p. 252). The mode of retribution is very rich in essence here, because the souls serve a fit punishment for their actions.