Thursday, November 3, 2016

Et tu Brute?

One of the main subjects of Dante's Inferno is his use of Roman tradition in combination with Christianity. A prime example is in the deepest portion of Hell, Judecca, Satan has the three worst sinners in his mouth. It makes perfect sense that Judas would be considered the worst sinner because he betrayed Jesus, the Son of God. The other two sinners are Brutus and Cassius, the murderers of Caesar. In my opinion, this is the most outright merger of Roman tradition with Christianity.  At other points in the epic, Dante uses mythological figures from Roman tradition, or mentions characters from Rome. However, no other points seem as blatant as when he groups Brutus and Cassius on almost the same level as Judas. Dante could have used other, more world renowned or more evil sinners, but instead he chose Brutus and Cassius. To Dante's audience, this probably made perfect sense and people would agree. However, reading it today, there is many other sinners Dante could have used.

4 comments:

Joseph Martin said...

I agree that Dante's decision to put Brutus and Cassius as two of the worst sinners next to Judas was done with the purpose of directly fusing classical and Christian. Not only are they in the worst circle of Hell, the ninth circle, but they are also held and tortured by Satan himself. Satan directly punishes them by holding them in two of his three mouths and chewing on them for eternity. This punishment was for being traitorous towards a benefactor. The constant mutilation of Brutus and Cassius is a just punishment because of how they mutilated Caesar by stabbing him so many times during the assassination. One message that Dante seems to convey is that both Christians and non-Christians or people before the time of Christianity can suffer in Hell, but Dante himself was not religious. In actuality, it is unclear his purpose, but he almost adds a deep philosophical notion about Christianity and classical contradictions.

Luke Jeanfreau said...

I think it's interesting that Dante chooses to include Brutus in the final circle of hell. In the story of Julius Caesar, Brutus believes that he is doing the right thing, even though he is not. To me, this shows that even the most virtuous people are not immune to being condemned to Hell. It honestly seems really unfair.

Bailey Taylor said...

I can see why Dante would consider Brutus to be one of the worst sinners because he committed the ultimate betrayal. He murdered the king, who also trusted him greatly.

Julia Scofield said...

I think that Dante made Circle IX betrayal of benefactors in order to more easily fuse Christianity and Roman Mythology. It seems, that other sins, such as violence against God, should warrant a harsher punishment from God. However, treachery toward a benefactor is a sin that has important figures in both religions, which makes it much easier to relate Dantes Inferno to the greatest number of people.