"And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched" (Mark 9:45) Is this speaking of a real living hell?
Imagine for a moment that the "fire" of hell is not real but just symbolic. In other words, if you went to hell, you would not spend eternity walking through a molten lake of literal fire (as in Dante's Inferno) but you would still suffer some kind of "fiery" torments. If this were true, then please understand that those fiery torments will be in reality, no less torturous than any symbol used to describe them!
The real eternal torment which the fire of hell symbolises, must be at least as terrifying and as painful as the experience of a person being thrown live into a literal lake of fire that never goes out!
Can you see then that there is no relief in believing that the "fire" of hell is just a symbol for God's wrath against unrepentant sinners. If the fire of hell is just symbolic, and there is no real literal fire, then you are still left with the terrifying reality which this fire represents. If the fire of hell was not a real literal fire, you are still left with eternal, conscious torment forever separated from the loving presence of God with no hope of escape or relief from this everlasting and painnful punishment! The torments will still be real because the Bible says they will bring forth from you wailing and gnashing of teeth!
Have you ever had such pain that it produce wailing and gnashing of teeth? In hell, this is eternal!
There is no comfort in seeing the fire of hell as merely symbolic and not literal. The reason is that whatever the nature of the flame in the spiritual dimension of the afterlife (a flame that will bring torment not only to wicked humans but to wicked spiritual beings) and whatever kind of bodies the wicked are raised with (John 5:29), the suffering of those tormented by this flame is real and therefore hell's fire is real. We see this in the story of the rich man and Lazarus...
In hell, the rich man cried out, "I AM TORMENTED IN THIS FLAME!" (Luke 16:19-31)
Hell is a real place! Hell fire is real! Hell is to be avoided at all costs!
Please also realise that ultiimately it is not hell you need to fear! It's the one who had the power to create hell and send people to hell, forever!