Step 5: Dante and You
Compare Dante’s plan and your choice.
Where is your worst sin in Dante’s scheme – is it there at all?
You might have to take into consideration categories that are more or less general, either yours or Dante’s.
Does Dante think your worst sin is less serious than you do? Why do you think that is?
Compare your reasons for your choice and the principles behind Dante’s organisation of Hell.
You can add your comments below.
6 thoughts on "Step 5: Dante and You"
By chance, I have chosen the same 'worst sin' as Dante. But beyond this argument, I think it is invidious to choose between forms of evil. First, all our actions in a coherently-lived life are interlinked, and one sin is part of - causative of, or caused by - another. Second, there are the Christian considerations, which ought to have been predominant for Dante. 'Sinning in one's heart' is as bad, says Jesus, as sinning by act. Then at one point, the disciple Peter is said in the NT to be inclined to discriminate between forms of evil, and Jesus reproves him, saying he should not get into this debate at all, but concentrate on positive loving actions. That's very much my view. The other way madness lies.
I think it's interesting Dante chose 'Betrayal' as the worst sin. 'Cowardice' can often lead to betrayal but it is a more general term: you could be condemned as a coward for not helping a stranger in need in a way that could not be seen as betrayal, as there are no ties to be taken into consideration. In a harsh life in thirteenth-century Italy where one had to depend on ties for so many things, I can see how 'betrayal' could be seen as the worst sin. As an aside, I think that in some ways 'Gluttony' and 'Lust' are quite similar, in that they show a selfish lack of restraint: but I think the Abrahamic faiths, like many others, are particularly sensitive to human sexuality and therefore to its control :)
Extremism is not there but gluttony could be describe as extremism, as could anger, avarice, gluttony, lust and violence.
I believe Dante's hell has this format and this sin order because he takes in consideration not only the sin itself but also its repercussions. Moreover, Dante might have created this order to punish people according to his personal dislikes.
As an athiest I have no issue with heresy and I feel that anger is a healthy emotion that should be expressed. Fraud, violence and betrayal are utterly contemporary sins and cross boundaries of belief and non belief. I certainly look at the decending scale from a humanist perspective and were I hazard a reordering I would place averice at the very bottom, the real root to all evil you might say.
I suppose that the sin I referred to (apathy) is a form of passive violence and also maybe punisheable in either Limbo (Celestine V) or in the 3rd last of the gironi.