Contents Index


In the lower circles of the Inferno, Dante represents sinners grotesquely transfigured by the nature of their sins, as their physical presence imitates the moral condition of their souls. For Victor to invoke Dante in this manner, however, is to remind us that in his medieval Christian universe no one is born damned, but rather must actively estrange the self from God's merciful love in order to embrace damnation as a principle of one's being. Victor also unwittingly raises the disturbing question that will be underscored in the ensuing paragraph: in a world where man plays God, what is the state of damnation and what constitutes hell?