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Dante essay - Dante David Lombardo Professor Kennison...

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Dante David Lombardo Professor Kennison Humanities-221 In Dante’s, “The Divine Comedy,” the ninth circle of Hell is reserved for those persons that perpetrated the most evil offenses, specifically people that have betrayed a trust. Within the ninth circle there is a division of offenders based on the level of the trust betrayed. It is in the fourth and final zone where the most offensive betrayers are held, and where Dante has his run in with Lucifer. In this fourth zone traitors are frozen in a lake of ice, where their heads are placed in the mouth of one of Lucifer’s three heads. The three traitors are Brutus and Cassius, who were responsible for the death of Julius Caesar, and Judas, who was responsible for the death of Jesus Christ. These traitors are categorized as the worst offenders because their actions were against figures above them. It makes a certain amount of sense that these offenders are considered the worst, because their actions tear at the very fabric of society, and can create a break down in the social order. In the instance of Brutus and Cassius, their actions created a power vacuum that cost the lives of many people in order to restore the balance. In Paul Gustave Dore’s rendering of this fourth zone his recreation differs with the account given by Dante. It is possible that Dante’s understanding of the fourth zone is his, and his alone, while other people see something else, but throughout Dante’s description it seems clear that what he sees is the true reality. One of the main differences from Dante’s description and Dore’s painting, is that in the painting, the figure that would appear to be Lucifer, only has one head, and there is nothing in his mouth. Instead the
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Lucifer character appears to be contemplating things, evident from his “thinking man” type pose. This idea that Lucifer would be mulling things over does have some
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