Spiritual Rebirth: A Journey Towards a New Beginning

Essay by libyangq October 2004

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Whether the embarked journey is for God, spiritual rebirth, or simply insight into ones' self, knowledge is gained and lessons are learned. The Divine Comedy of the Inferno, Gilgamesh, Everyman and "The Gift of Laughter" all illustrate journeys taken by travelers from darkness into light. During the course of their journey, the travelers encounter numerous obstacles and struggles in which they overcome and thus gain strength. Each of the travelers comes to a point on their journey where they observe their transformation and are thus approaching the end of their pilgrimage. While the journeymen's voyage is primarily fictitious, it is very much comparable to my life and my personal journeys that I undergo.

In Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy of the Inferno, Dante's journey initiated with ignorance and concluded with comprehension and understanding of God and his ways. Where ignorance and sin represented his darkness and understanding represented his light.

In the beginning of Dante's inferno, it becomes evident that Dante is lost and is unsure of how he got this state of naïveté. His soul was corrupted by sin and abandonment from God. This is what the "shadowed forest" indicates when he said "...I found myself in a shadowed forest, for I had lost the path that does not stray," (Cantos I, line 2-3). In line 5, he calls it a savage forest which portrays a very barbarous and untamed forest. Thus the readers see that he lies very deep in sin, worldliness and ignorance. He advances in his journey with the help of Virgil. Virgil takes him through the levels of hell and thus tries to teach Dante lessons by having witnessed such gruesome and disturbing punishments. With each punishment, one more grotesque then the next, Dante approaches his goal of enlightenment. Dante will be able to...