What Fresh Hell Is This? Dante’s “Inferno:

Sandro Botticelli, Portrait of Dante

Sandro Botticelli, Portrait of Dante

 

Medieval Italian poet Dante Alighieri wrote probably the most famous depiction of hell of all times.  In his Inferno, he wrote very detailed descriptions of the nine levels of hell.  For him, sins are not all created equal.  The first circle of hell is reserved for those who were not bad in life, just unbaptized.  The second circle is for those who succumb to lust.  The third is for gluttony, and so forth.  Each sin has its own punishment designed specifically for it.  For example, the lustful are forced to be blown about in a violent storm because they succumbed to the violent storm of lust  in real life.

Which level do you belong in?

Which level do you belong in?

At the center of hell lies Satan.  Although we tend to think of hell as a fiery place, Dante’s Satan is encased in ice, denoting his soul that is frozen to the love of God.

William Bougureau, painting of Dante's Inferno

William Bougureau, painting of Dante’s Inferno

Dante lived in the 14th century, so his conception of various sins was colored by the times in which he lived.  I think we need to update his map of hell for the present times.

I need your help for this.  If you were to create a map of hell as you see it, what/who would you put in the various levels?

For example, I teach at the college level.  If I were to make a map of academic sins, I might include the following:

–1st circle:  students who continually ask questions like, “When is this paper due?” or “What are we doing tomorrow” when all of this information is found on my carefully planned and copiously distributed syllabus.

–2nd circle:  students who missed class and ask the next day, “Did I miss anything in class yesterday?”

–3rd circle:  students who spend the entire class period looking down at their crotches, texting on their phones.

–8th circle:  Plagiarizers.

–9th circle:  Administrators who think people do not need to study literature.

(Obviously, this is a work in progress.)

Tell me about your levels of hell!

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9 thoughts on “What Fresh Hell Is This? Dante’s “Inferno:

  1. 4th circle: students who quietly and obediently do a mediocre job of everything you ask them to do all semester, never come to office hours, and then write on the course evaluation that they were not challenged.

  2. Pingback: The Dante’s Inferno Weight-Loss Plan | BOOKING IT

    • It all goes back to the Trojan War. Ulysses/Odysseus was Greek, and the Greeks won the Trojan war. According to Virgil’s Aeneid, The Trojans who were left eventually founded Rome. Dante was Italian and adored Virgil, therefore Ulysses is bad.

      All make sense now?

      Yes, ISIS is now in the 8th circle.

  3. Can you add to that 9th circle those that believe libraries and their physical collections are obsolete (therefore we don’t need a book budget) and that everything is online?

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