Saturday, October 27, 2012

Tearing Oneself Apart

I was reading CNN the other day and an article caught my eye. The article was pretty gruesome: a nanny killed the two kids she was babysitting and when their mother showed up proceeded to stab herself repeatedly in the neck. I said it was gruesome. After reading the article I read about the minotaur in Dante's inferno that ripped itself apart, which made me think: why do violent people often destroy themselves? Hitler ended up committing suicide as well, although that could be pinned as cowardly and not wanting the allies to capture him. But the minotaur and the babysitter seem to destroy themselves because they truly know justice, and have a moral compass that tells them theyve done something wrong and suicide is their way of punishing themselves. Heres the CNN article: http://www.cnn.com/2012/10/26/us/new-york-nanny-deaths/index.html?c=us

6 comments:

TSHAH said...

I find it interesting that the forest of suicides is deeper in hell than pleghathon because during this time it may have been considered a form of blasphemy to commit suicide and
take your own life as who is one to take the life that god gave them. - atleast that's my tame on it

Tyler Dean said...

Well, people nowadays are literally insane sometimes, the example you give probably supports my assumption. But, some people who do things like that who aren't crazy are often angry at themselves and then they take it out on others, and once they realize what they have done, they are disgusted with themselves and they then, sadly, end their own life. Much like you said, most sane people have a "moral calculator" in themselves that tells them what is right and wrong, and when that "calculator" of sorts is too off balance, some people snap.

Ben Bonner said...

I think that the minotaur's ripping itself apart reflects the them theme of contrapasso. Because the minotaur was violent to others, he is being forced to "suffer the opposite. Another example of this idea I think are the violent who are forced to sit/lie in the boiling blood. I think Dante's sense of divine justice is largely based on the idea of "what goes around comes around."

Lindsay A said...

I feel like it's an expression of hate. I mean, if you ever see crime TV shows, the people who are the murderers often end up hating themselves for it. So I think, when violence and hate reach a certain point, perhaps the person turned that on themselves. I agree with Ben that the Minotaur's death is a kind of contrapasso - a violent creature destroying himself in violent means. But maybe the woman's suicide reflect a kind of contrapasso that exists in reality. I don't know. Probably none of what I just said made any sense.

Austin Falk said...

This violence can also be seen in the character of Filippo Argenti. Dante did not like him because he once slapped him. Filippo Argenti was sent to Hell in the circle of the Wrathful and Sullen. As Dante and Virgil leave this circle, they see Filippo getting destroyed as he fights among the other wrathful. I agree with Tyler. Filippo Argenti represents yet another violent person who ends up destroying himself.

Laura N said...

I think self inflicted pain is an indication that the person has realized that they have done something wrong and are ashamed of their behavior. Some suicides are examples of self hatred or disdain for the world. In the case of the nanny (i presume) and other suicides, they feel so ashamed and hurt by their actions that they can't believe they did it and hate themselves for it and cant stand themselves, and therefore dont deserve to live.