Instead, Dante had a vision of the suffering of beings in the afterlife; he did not see with his eyes people undergoing unthinkable tortures, but he sensed or felt - at a level of reality not available to us down here watching the shadows dance on the far wall of our cave - what it is like to be those beings with those kinds of weaknesses.

Dante, true to the pervasive Catholic milieu of the fourteenth century, speaks of these sufferings as "punishments" doled out by God.


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