The Contrapasso Of Caiaphas In Dante's Inferno

642 words - 3 pages

In Canto XXIII of Dante's Inferno, the hypocrites, especially Caiaphas, provide an excellent example of Divine Justice as contrapasso. The hypocrites presented their ideas as pure and good, while in reality, they did not act according to their supposed morality or practice the virtues that they preached. Because in life, the hypocrites said one thing and did another, their heavy garments seem one thing and are, yet another. The ornate priestly robes worn by the hypocrites are beautiful and impressive on the outside, but are in reality leaden instruments of torture. Contrapasso is evident in this circle of Hell, because although outwardly the Hypocrites appear lovely and perfect, underneath their gilded exterior lies only the heaviness of their guilt.
After Dante sees the Hypocrites, damned to walk under the weight of their deceptions eternally, he also sees that they are walking over a figure lying naked and supine on the ground. This is the High Priest of the Jews, Caiaphas, who led the Sanhedrin in condemning Jesus. He is now crucified in Hell, sharing in the pain Christ suffered upon Caiaphas’ orders. There are three primary facets of Caiaphas’ sin which are revealed through his punishments. First, he was a hypocrite – a man who proclaimed to live for God, but lived instead for his own interests. Caiaphas did not carry out the law through his secret actions and private dealings with others. He deliberately appeared good and holy to the people, but in reality, he spoke of one doctrine, and lived another. Secondly, Caiaphas, as High Priest, insisted that the Sanhedrin crucify Jesus, because he feared losing his position and power. And thirdly, his hypocrisy sentenced one who was innocent to bear the sins and guilt of all. Caiaphas was purportedly the authority on God’s Word, but he condemned the Word Made Flesh to death on a cross.
As the Justice of Inferno indicates, the punishment for Caiaphas'...

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