Most Christians these days see every sin as equally bad. In other words, no one sin is worse or should draw worse punishment than another. In Dante's The Inferno, however, this is not the case. In The Inferno, the deeper one delves into Hell, the worse the sin that has been committed. The punishments that the souls incur are representative of the sins they committed in their corporeal state of being. Sins that affect others are considered worse then those that only affect ones self by Dante. The Wrathful in Canto 8 are lower down then the Hoarders and Wasters in Canto 7 because according to Dante, The Wrathful commit violent acts, or sins against others, while the Hoarders and wasters only against themselves. This is how one sin is determined to be worse than another in Dante's ethical system. After looking at circle four and five, I will then go back to circle three to see how the gluttonous compare with the sinners below them. Finally I will go into Purgatory and see how the penance for the sins is different from the punishments.
In Canto 7, Dante describes the Hoarders that reside in circle four. The Hoarders are all of those people that were misers during their life. The reason that this is a sin is because is takes the focus away form God and places their focus on collecting and saving as much money as they can. This is the last circle of Hell where the affects of the sin committed do not have a direct impact on other people. It does however, affect others indirectly by influencing the economy of the place where they lived before being damned to Hell. It is not as severe as the sins of the Wrathful because the Hoarders do not seek to harm another individual. Dante compares the action of the sinners in this circle to the whirlpool Charybdis and its surrounding waters. "Just as the surge Charybdis hurls to sea crashes and breaks upon its countersurge, so these shades dance and crash eternally"(Dante, Canto 7 line 22-24). The useless efforts with which they...
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