It is possible to watch how a man’s self-concept has been changing variously throughout centuries. Of course, it is hard to have the cognitions and attitudes changing towards many aspects of life. It is even more problematic to speak on the opinions about law, God, and circumstances that have developed until nowadays since the variety of ideals for modern people is enormous. So, it would be appropriate to suggest the overview of changing virtues and people’s views within the well-known cognitive books: The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri, The Consolation of Philosophy by Ancius Boethius, and the Holy Bible. The research will show how the matters of religious beliefs, approach to the law, and to the fate itself have been changing their perspectives as it is shown in the books under consideration.
The first volume The Divine Comedy represents the views of people on the Western civilization. It provides the narration about main sins existing in our corrupt society and the circles represents person’s journey to God. Here the self-concept is revealed through recognition of the deadly sins.
Therefore, we can explicitly see that the comedy undertakes drawing the classical and medieval history of theology: “…I entered there I cannot truly say, I had become so sleepy at the moment when I first strayed, leaving the path of truth…” (Aligieri 67, line 10). Namely, it shows the perspectives of views of the medieval contemporaries – the God’s almightiness, his power within the universe: “Throughout the circles of this dark inferno/ I saw no shade so haughty toward his God, not even he who from Thebes’ high walls” (Alighieri 205, line 15). Besides, humans’ right of choice and God’s help to those who trust in him are discussed in the book. These were the basic beliefs that emerged in Dante Alighieri comedy and reflected the attitude towards theological issues back in the centuries. Moreover, people of those days thought upon the problems of afterlife. This is where a problem of justice emerges. Dante depicts how differently sins are being punished and the overall description brings one to the point where it is determined that following the laws of Bible will save you from being ‘charged’ too much in purgatory.
Within the Holy Bible the notion of fate is depicted in the following way – it is a constant overcoming of the life’s circumstances and tortures which are being completely inevitable and impossible to avoid. This is the primary meaning of the person’s destiny according the Bible, though still the power of God is the foremost and the most dominating one: “ And God said ‘Let there be light’; and there was light” (Holy Bible 1, line 3). Unlike Dante’s comedy, the Bible presents the beautiful life after death if only one obeys the laws of God. Both the Old Testament and the New Testament have the leitmotif of obedience to the Ten Commandments running through the entire content. So, the changes in relations with God that took place are slightly seen, though very easily determined, which outlines the omnipotence of God and His decisive role in human’s life: “…by Go of your farther who will help you by God almighty who will bless you with blessing of heaven above…” (Holy Bible 48, line 25).
The comedy suggests adopting God’s methods as a motive to back oneself up with proper life for better outcome and staying in purgatory whereas Bible is a book that gives an opportunity to hear God, obey His admonition and get prepared for a better and happier life after death.
The book The Consolation of Philosophy touches upon the issues of controversies between the good men and the evil men, their natures and the rights to exist. According to Boethius, God punishes the evil men even greater by simply allowing them to exist and experience all the advantages of earth sinful life. In particular, the poet writes, “…No Power is free to disarray/ The Order God has shown…The Lord would not allow success in mutiny to grace” (Boethius and Watts 19).
The philosopher is troubled by the impossibility of God to prevent suffering of good people and, therefore, he idealistically claims that it is impossible for the good to always dominate over the evil. In addition, the philosopher realizes that happy life can only be achieved through good deeds: “…If first you rid yourself of hope and fear/ You have disarmed the tyrant’s wrath…” (Boethius and Watt 9).
Alighieri, Dante. Musa, Mark. The Divine Comedy: Volume 1: Inferno.
NY, New York: Penguin Classics, 1984. Print Boethius, Ancius., Watts, Victor. The Consolation of Philosophy: Revised Edition. NY, New York: Penguin Classics, 1999. Print.
Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version. NY, New York: Plume, 1974. Print.