Influential literary works from the Middle Ages, across the world reflect a focus on the will of the divine, sins, and punishment. Dante’s epic poem, The Divine Comedy, is one of the most significant European literary works of the Middle Ages. Throughout his work, Dante comments on the political happenings of his day. The Divine Comedy is divided into three parts: Inferno (Hell), Purgatorio (Purgatory), and Paradiso (Heaven). The law of symbolic retribution, which implies that a punishment should fit the sin committed, is given particular attention in Dante’s Inferno. For example, corrupt politicians are punished by being immersed in a lake of boiling pitch and guarded by devils. Deceit and treachery are of the most heinous sins according to Dante. What do you think are the most heinous sins of today? Answer the following question in a minimum of 2 paragraphs: Choose 1 modern-day person who has committed a “crime” addressed in the Inferno. This must be someone easily researchable by your colleagues and must be a real person. Do not pick a politically charged subject such as abortion, drunk driving, and the like. Pretend you are Dante and have the opportunity to place your selected individual into a level of the Inferno. First, explain why Dante you have consigned your person to this level. In other words, what did he or she do that the medieval mind would believe warranted Divine Retribution? Where do you believe Dante would have placed this person? Explain the punishment inflicted in that level.
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