What was once so pure is now a rarity. In today’s society, half of the marriages in the United States are ending in divorce. A person cannot go to the theater without seeing at least one sex scene on the screen, and the shorter or tighter the outfit, the better. The fine line between loving the whole person, inside and out, to just being sexually attracted to them is being crossed more than ever before. This is what the 21st century calls “normal.” However, one has to question if anything has really changed since the writing of The Divine Comedy. By comparing Dante’s Inferno circle about lust and the 2013 hit movie, Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor, there is a clear parallel between the two. In both stories, the major theme is love; however, both show the perversion of that throughout.
Dante Alighieri completed Inferno, a one of three series of The Divine Comedy, in 1314. Inferno lays out Dante’s version of Hell and describes the sinners and their punishments. He separates Hell into nine circles that are arranged in a funnel shape; the greater sins being at the bottom of the funnel. Now, it is no surprise that lust is one of the nine circles of Hell, but it’s of the lesser punishments. On the other hand, Temptation is dealing solely with love and lust. A young couple is broken apart when the wife, who ironically is a marriage counselor, finds a love interest through her job. What seems to be a perfect marriage, with only love for each other, turns into a broken relationship due to lust and deceit.
While Inferno has one main theme, each circle of Hell has its own sin, or theme. The sub-themes range from gluttony, suicide, and betrayal. Ironically, the main theme for Inferno and the sin for circle two coincide. As mentioned before, the overarching theme is love. Love is the force the holds the universe together, and like a magnet, holds the souls to God. However, the parody of this love is lust. A person can lust over people or objects, but circle two is only concerned with the lust of the flesh (Alighieri 707). While in circle two, Dante speaks to a few characters to observe and find out why they were placed here. In each case, you can clearly see lust being portrayed. One thing that Dante does throughout Inferno is tie the sin to the punishment. In this circle, the sinners are constantly being blown around in the dark (Dante 707). The storm now stimulates their souls; before they were stimulated by the flesh. Also, darkness parallels with the dark places where many lustful acts take place. While lust is seen in Dante’s time, it is also very apparent in modern time.
Just as Dante deals with lust in his culture, so do the people of the 21st century. Even from the earliest of civilizations, there has always been love and lust. This trait is part of our human nature. In the culture today people applaud it instead of giving it a negative reputation. In almost every television show, movie, or book, there is someone falling in love...