Monday, November 14, 2011

WWDT (What Would Dante Think?)

As I was reading Hamlet, I found myself musing over what circle of hell that, by Dante's definition, Claudius might be found in. I came up with the ninth circle - treachery (more specifically, treachery to kin). I thought this classification was the most appropriate, though he possessed some adulterous characteristics, because he slay his own brother. Treachery is worse than lust in Dante's Inferno so I think he would automatically be bumped down into the lower levels. Now where would Hamlet be? It's hard to say because I have yet to finish the play. I'll leave this question unanswered until then.


Shaina Lu said...

Woah, I was just thinking about this today in class when we discussed the part about Claudius poisoning Hamlet's father. I completely agree that Claudius would be in the ninth circle with the sin of treachery to kin. However, I was wondering if Shakespeare and other Elizabethans believed in Dante's circles of hell?

mere said...

I'm no expert, but I don't really think that they did believe in quite the same extremes that people of Dante's era believed in. There are probably some remnants of his theories though?

Mallory said...

I definitely agree that Claudius would be in the 9th circle of hell for treachery against kin. Where would Gertrude be? Maybe in lust? Since that is the place where we see all women. Or would she also be in treachery to kin, since she now is in an incestuous marriage?