Dante's Inferno, By Dante Alighieri Essay

1885 words - 8 pages

Judgment, a term used in Christianity to refer to someone’s soul, heart and their deeds. Dante Alighieri was the first person to judge people and put them in Hell for their deeds and actions in life. The book, Dante’s Inferno, explores morality and judgment. It is a book that truly says, “The punishment fits the crime.” It explores the deeds of people such as William Howard Taft, King John, Otto von Bismarck, and Nostradamus. These people are in Inferno for the same reason that someone like Alexander the Great is there because they committed some sort of crime or sin while living on Earth. These people violated absolute standards of humanity and behavior that is in fact there across culture and time.
In Christianity, murder is a sin, and being a devout Christian that Dante is, he creates a circle for violence, circle seven. Since, violence is too general, he divides the circle into three rounds, violence against others, violence against self, and violence against God. Circle seven, round one, houses people who have willingly harmed and/or killed others. A person that committed these sins is King John of England. John was born in Oxford, England on December 24th, 1167. His father was Henry II and his mother was Eleanor of Aquitaine. He was the youngest son, and his older brother was Richard the Lion-Hearted. (“BrÜckmann”). After Richard died, John became the King of England. He ruled from 1199 to 1216. He was a bad military leader and people started to call him John Softsword. John lost Normandy and all his lands in northern France to Phillip Augustus. After, losing all this land to the French, the nobles revolted. (Beck, 394-395). To stop the revolts, John started to torture his nobles and also alienated the Church (Beck, 394). John’s reputation was bad, even after signing one of the most decorated documents in history of politics, the Magna Carta. That’s because he starved Matilda de Braose, the wife of a recalcitrant Marcher baron, and her son in prison (“BrÜckmann”). He was cruel and very vengeful. Therefore, Dante would put John in circle seven with Dionysius I because they were both very cruel military leaders, and very vengeful, and so Virgil says, “Here they lament their ruthless crimes. Here is Alexander, here cruel Dionysius, / who gave to Sicily its years of woe” (Alighieri 12.106-108). Dionysius lies in a river of blood because of his violent nature. John would be placed in circle seven, round one, because much like Dionysius he used his political power for evil, and harmed others. Even though these men fought for the name of their country they were still corrupt. Dante’s reason for putting Dionysius in circle seven, round one, is that he started to idolize himself after conquering city after city, and so he enjoyed harming others because he believed that if he scared people then they would start to worship him, and say that he is their protector instead of God. John believed the same thing, but he was even crueler because he...

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