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Answer Questions for Consideration-Why I Write (235)

  1. What does Orwell mean when he says that in his early resistance to becoming a writer, he was “outraging
    my true nature”? Can you identify with this sentiment in light of your own “natural” tendencies?
  2. What kind of “literary activities” did Orwell engage in even when he was not purposefully developing his
    aspirations of becoming a writer? How then does his attitude contrast his perspective on that period as he
    looks back now, writing this essay?
  3. What is the “joy of mere words” he describes? Can you give examples of words that affect you this way?
  4. Consider the “four great motives for writing” listed by Orwell. According to him, how might these motives
    work against one another?
  5. How does Orwell use his poem to explain why he eventually became political even though it was not in his
    “nature” to do so?
  6. What is the role of aestheticism for Orwell even in writing a book with a political theme?
  7. What does he mean when he says that “every book is a failure”?
  8. If you were to write a similar essay tracing your development into a _major, what details of your life
    would you focus on? If this major, and the profession it leads to, does not always fit well with your character
    and habits, where do the discrepancies lie? 9. If you were to write an essay about your development as a
    writer, how would your story be similar to Orwell’s? How would it be different?

Sample Solution

Sample solution

Dante Alighieri played a critical role in the literature world through his poem Divine Comedy that was written in the 14 th century. The poem contains Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso. The Inferno is a description of the nine circles of torment that are found on the earth. It depicts the realms of the people that have gone against the spiritual values and who, instead, have chosen bestial appetite, violence, or fraud and malice. The nine circles of hell are limbo, lust, gluttony, greed and wrath. Others are heresy, violence, fraud, and treachery. The purpose of this paper is to examine the Dante’s Inferno in the perspective of its portrayal of God’s image and the justification of hell. 

In this epic poem, God is portrayed as a super being guilty of multiple weaknesses including being egotistic, unjust, and hypocritical. Dante, in this poem, depicts God as being more human than divine by challenging God’s omnipotence. Additionally, the manner in which Dante describes Hell is in full contradiction to the morals of God as written in the Bible. When god arranges Hell to flatter Himself, He commits egotism, a sin that is common among human beings ( Cheney, 2016) . The weakness is depicted in Limbo and on the Gate of Hell where, for instance, God sends those who do not worship Him to Hell. This implies that failure to worship Him is a sin.

God is also depicted as lacking justice in His actions thus removing the godly image. The injustice is portrayed by the manner in which the sodomites and opportunists are treated. The opportunists are subjected to banner chasing in their lives after death followed by being stung by insects and maggots. They are known to having done neither good nor bad during their lifetimes and, therefore, justice could have demanded that they be granted a neutral punishment having lived a neutral life. The sodomites are also punished unfairly by God when Brunetto Lattini is condemned to hell despite being a good leader ( Babor, T. F., McGovern, T., & Robaina, K. (2017) . While he commited sodomy, God chooses to ignore all the other good deeds that Brunetto did.

Finally, God is also portrayed as being hypocritical in His actions, a sin that further diminishes His godliness and makes Him more human. A case in point is when God condemns the sin of egotism and goes ahead to commit it repeatedly. Proverbs 29:23 states that “ arrogance will bring your downfall, but if you are humble, you will be respected.” When Slattery condemns Dante’s human state as being weak, doubtful, and limited, he is proving God’s hypocrisy because He is also human (Verdicchio, 2015). The actions of God in Hell as portrayed by Dante are inconsistent with the Biblical literature. Both Dante and God are prone to making mistakes, something common among human beings thus making God more human.

To wrap it up, Dante portrays God is more human since He commits the same sins that humans commit: egotism, hypocrisy, and injustice. Hell is justified as being a destination for victims of the mistakes committed by God. The Hell is presented as being a totally different place as compared to what is written about it in the Bible. As a result, reading through the text gives an image of God who is prone to the very mistakes common to humans thus ripping Him off His lofty status of divine and, instead, making Him a mere human. Whether or not Dante did it intentionally is subject to debate but one thing is clear in the poem: the misconstrued notion of God is revealed to future generations.



Babor, T. F., McGovern, T., & Robaina, K. (2017). Dante’s inferno: Seven deadly sins in scientific publishing and how to avoid them.  Addiction Science: A Guide for the Perplexed , 267.

Cheney, L. D. G. (2016). Illustrations for Dante’s Inferno: A Comparative Study of Sandro Botticelli, Giovanni Stradano, and Federico Zuccaro.  Cultural and Religious Studies 4 (8), 487.

Verdicchio, M. (2015). Irony and Desire in Dante’s” Inferno” 27.  Italica , 285-297.

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