Comparison and contrast of the spiritual journeys of Dante and St. Augustine in the Confessions essay

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The two works of Dante and Augustine of Confession are similar in the sense that they are both spiritual. The two people were also referring to the same matters of love and achievements though each had his own explanation for them. They were all comparing what they knew with what God required of them. The following discussion will focus on the comparison and contrast of what the two men believed in their confession.

Discussion

In the confession of Dante, it is said that he saw the vision of what happens in the afterlife of a Christian. This is the judgment moment where one is rewarded according to the works that they have done. According to him, he saw three divisions of the Christian afterlife which include the inferno. In here he says, the sinners are punished for going against God’s precepts. While he was there, he is said to have been helped by Virgil. This was one of the greatest poets who wrote the book with the title of Aeneid. The other division was the purgatory where the good people were being rewarded for the work that they had done. He finally saw the vision of paradiso where he is said to have come into contact with other saints such as Thomas Aquinas among others. He also met with the trinity that is, God the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit.

On the other hand, St. Augustine confession is seen to be propelled by the pain that he went through after he lost his mistress that he really loved. This led him to spend so much time thinking about physical beauty as it is said that his mistress was very beautiful. He came to his realization that he had been sinning by focusing so much or the created beauty rather than focusing mostly on the giver of Beauty who is God. What Augustine is simply saying is that people should see God in the beauty that He has created rather that being overtaken by it.

On the comparison part, the two poets agree that physical beauty is not evil. Beauty they argue is God’s creation and it is the manifestation of His greatness. In their confession, they do not find it wrong to appreciate what is good. Observing what beautiful and making compliment about it has nothing to do with evil. However, St. Augustine says that what is really wrong and therefore not pleasing to God is to get carried away by beauty and forget about the giver. He could be referring his own life where he was so obsessed by the beauty of his mistress to the point that when she was taken away from him, it became so difficult for him to cope.  Therefore, on matters concerning beauty, both of them agree that it is not bad.

The other aspect that the two gave confession about is the matters concerning the achievements of life and the pride that comes with it. St. Augustine is said to have loved literature work so much that he excelled in it. However, in his confession, he says that if the achievements overtake one’s life and they have no regard for the creator, then this is sin. He agrees that there should be no pride whatsoever and all this kind of achievement is supposed to be attributed to God’s blessings.

On the contrary, Dante seems not to mind being famous for the works that he has done. This is explained by the fact that he is said to have greedy for politics and also fame for his work. However, he comes to agree with St. Augustine when during his vision he saw the sinners being punished. Among those were the greedy people, and the ones who had taken pride because of their achievements.

It is therefore clear that at the end of their confessions, the two agree that it is wrong for one to accept the praise that comes from men. They argue that humility is the way to go no matter how much one has achieved in their lives.

The other comparison that the two have in common is the shunning of sins. They both believe that every sin committed must pass through punishment that is administered by God. Therefore they call upon righteous lives.

In both, it is observed that Virgil appears. In Dante’s vision, he appeared to him in the Inferno where there was punishment. The role here was to help him understand that all people who took pride because of their achievements will have to be punished. On the other hand, Augustine compares his works and wants to become like him, but he reasons that it is of no use if one becomes so famous and he forgets about God by taking praise of men.

Conclusion

Beauty is great and it demonstrates God’s power of creation. People are required to see God in the beauty rather than being carried away by it and forget about the creator. Accumulation of wealth, life achievements and greediness could be sins if they lead someone to lead proud lives and therefore should be shunned.

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