Friday, October 16, 2015

Oedipus and Medea in Circles of Hell

As we were discussing the various circles of Hell today, I wondered where Oedipus and Medea would end up. They were both pagans, which would put them in circle 1. Oedipus could also rest in circle 2 because he lusted for his own mother. Medea could easily end up in circle 5, because of her serious wrath. She was easily angered and took out all of her anger on those around her. Both Oedipus and Medea could also end up in Circle 7, because they are violent. They are violent against themselves (Oedipus) as well as their neighbors (Medea – murdered her brother, both children, a princess and her father.) In addition, they could easily fall under circle 8 or 9, because Oedipus was treacherous (albeit unintentionally) to his country and kin (as in his people, because he was the reason that his kingdom was suffering) and Medea was both treacherous and deceitful (mostly to her kin, her father and Jason, but also to a benefactor, when she tricks the foreign king into promising her a place to retreat). I’m not sure where they would belong, because they are guilty of many different sins!

4 comments:

Abbey said...

I never would've thought about blogging this! You make some really solid points. According to what we discussed in class, both Medea and Oedipus would end up in the worst possible circle in which the sins they committed belonged and they would have to endure those punishments. I don't know if I agree with this, though. This sounds extremely harsh, but if you were guilty of committing so many sins, like Oedipus and Medea, you shouldn't be punished for only the worst. Instead, you should be punished for every sin you make. The purpose of inflicting these punishments is to torture the sinners and, I'm sure, make them reflect on or regret how they lived their lives on earth. So why would they only be forced to reflect on one aspect of their sinning life? I say this because going to hell was such a big deal and it should have been feared more to prevent all this intentional sinning (as seen in the lower hell). Say I committed every sin in the "incontinence" category and went to hell for just being an arch-heretic. Because I'm only going to hell for this one thing, why wouldn't I spend my time on earth being lustful or a glutton and at least have some fun before I'm damned to hell for my arch-heresy?!! Therefore, I think there should be a circle in Dante's Inferno for people who have sinned multiple times... Everyone does sin though, whether intentionally or not, so this circle would probably be full all the time, but it's an idea!

Ashley Bossier said...

I like Abbey's comment when she said that Dante should have another circle for the people who have committed more than one sin. I think that this circle to be for people who have committed more than one sin that is already a circle of hell. So say people, like Oedipus, are both violence and treacherous they would be in the 10th circle. But what about the people who sin but don't sin the sins that Dante writes about? Where do they go? Maybe Dante doesn't think that their sins are great enough to be in hell. I think that they are all in purgatory because yes they sinned, but not enough to be in hell.

Cheyenne Dwyer said...

I see what you're saying about the multiple sins and I also feel that that issue should be addressed. Along with that, I also find it a little vague on deciding where people should end up. like how wrathful does someone have to be in order to be put into that circle of hell. Everyone is to some degree wrathful, but where do you draw the line for what is too wrathful? I feel that Dante takes it upon himself to draw these lines and I wonder how thought out the limits were. And hypothetically in the situation of his story would it be God who decides these limits? Jesus? or the guard at the beginning of hell who tells them which level to go to by coiling his tail? so many questions.

Jack Zheng said...

Along with all the interesting points you guys listed, there is yet another problem: For Dante (the poet), belief in God and Jesus requires faith because there is no way to see God in one's lifetime and biblical stories are sometimes logically incoherent. However, for Oedipus and Medea, the gods are very real and even tangible. In both stories, divine intervention directly affects the characters - Oedipus' life is driven by the gods and revealed through omens and prophets; Medea flies away on a chariot that Helios sends her. Being "Pagan" would then be complicated for Oedipus and Medea - you can't say that they believed in false gods if said gods are definitely real in their fictional universe. In that case, would Dante’s Christian Hell even apply to them?