The Inferno by Dante Alighieri written around the fourteenth century depicts the three sins; treachery, greed, and violence which are relevant in today’s society. In our world and Dante’s violence, greed, and treachery or treason are all viewed similar and are punished in similar ways. For example, someone who is guilty of greed in today’s society is not punished by a law but is punished mentally by the community. In Dante’s Inferno, they are placed deeper into hell and are punished mentally and physically.
Greed is considered to be a little bit in the lower parts of hell and Dantes believes that “The Vile Slush” symbolizes personal degradation of one who overindulges in food, drink and other worldly pleasures, while the inability to see others lying nearby represents the gluttons selfishness and coldness. In today’s society we see greed as someone who doesn’t share what they have to help those in need such as people who are rich use their money for their own personal desires instead of giving to charity or to the countries like Africa who are dying from starvation. Greed is found deeper in hell because it is seen as idolatry in God’s eyes and it shows God that people in need don’t think that the people more in need should be helped.
Violence is a harmful act against someone or something. Violence in Dantes Inferno is divided into three rings in the 7th Circle of Hell. The Outer Ring houses murderers and others who were violent to other people and property. Here, Dante sees Alexander the Great, Dionysius of Syracuse, Guy de Montfort and many other notable historical and mythological figures such as the Centaurus, sank into a river of boiling blood and fire. In the Middle Ring, the poet sees suicides who have been turned into trees and bushes which are fed upon by “Harpies”. In the Inner Ring are “Blasphemers” and “Sodomites”, residing in a desert of burning sand and burning rain falling from the sky. In today’s society violence can be seen the same way like dividing the level of violence into parts. For example in today’s society committing violence on people would be seen as a higher punishment than destroying someone’s property. We see these types of violence in warfare when other countries come in and invade another and kill the people and destroy their property. Violence is placed so deep down in hell because violence could be a type of violence where you murder someone innocent or harm them. Treachery is betrayal of trust; deceptive action or nature. In Dantes world, treachery is found to be the lowest sin to be found and is divided into 4 rounds according to the seriousness of the sin though all residents are frozen in an icy lake. The 4 rounds are listed below:
Round 1 is named Caina after Cain who killed his brother Abel Round 2 is named Antenora after Anthenor of Troy who was Priam’s counselor during the Trojan War Round 3 is named Ptolomaea after Ptolemy (son of Abubus)
Round 4 is named Judecca after Judas Iscariot, the apostle who betrayed Jesus with a kiss. In today’s society treachery can be found many places, but the most notably examples would be while in warfare. For example, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were convicted of espionage in 1951, for helping the Soviet Union steal atomic secrets from the United States during World War II. This is a good example because it shows how Julius and Ethel Rosenberg betrayed their country to help the Soviet Union by stealing atomic secrets. There are many more things that are similar or relevant between today’s society and Dantes Inferno, but these 3 sins gives you a better understanding on how Dantes world is relevant to today. The circumstances may be different, but you can see the similarities in today’s society and Dante’s Inferno when it comes to punishing people who commit sin.