Here is the answer and explanation to the question What kind of mood does Dante’s line “sighs that caused the everlasting air to tremble” set in the Inferno?
What kind of mood does Dante’s line “sighs that caused the everlasting air to tremble” set in the Inferno?
The line “sighs, that tremble made the everlasting air” sets a mood of sorrow and regret, as the inhabitants of Limbo are forever made to live in a pale version of heaven because of their lack of faith.
The line in question is from canto IV of Dante’s Inferno, where Dante awakes to find himself borne across the river Acheron. The poet Virgil then leads him inside the first circle of the Inferno—Limbo:
There, as it seemed to me from listening,
Were lamentations none, but only sighs,
That tremble made the everlasting air.
The “sighs” that Dante hears are from the inhabitants of Limbo who have failed either to get baptized or worship God. Even though these inhabitants have led a marginally good life, their lack of religious faith affords them a place in the outermost circle of hell. Virgil himself is revealed to have been sent to Limbo after his death, as well as other literary masters such as Homer, Ovid, and Horace. Other great inhabitants of Limbo include Roman warriors (such as Hector, Julius Caesar, Brutus) and Greek philosophers (such as Socrates, Plato, Aristotle).
The mood that the line itself sets is one of despondence and sorrow, as the inhabitants are portrayed as regretful of their pagan ways. Many inhabitants of Limbo led great and virtuous lives and yet are denied the kingdom of God in death. It is in this way that Dante establishes that faith in Christianity is essential to getting sent to heaven—or Paradiso. However, it is worth noting that the circle of Limbo does not punish its inhabitants as cruelly as the other circles; it is, rather, merely a poor version of heaven.
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