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I am writing a thought response paper on Dante's Inferno. The topic I am writing...

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sarlevy | Student, College Freshman | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 13, 2012 at 4:06 AM via web

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I am writing a thought response paper on Dante's Inferno. The topic I am writing about is regarding the modern versions of the treacherous acts of Judas, Brutus, and Cassius.  Who would be modern examples to be placed in the ninth and lowest level of Hell?

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akannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 13, 2012 at 4:42 AM (Answer #1)

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This should prove to be interesting.  I think that you can approach this in a variety of ways in terms of how you define the modern example of the deception and treachery that Dante gives to Brutus, Cassius, and Judas.  For Dante, Judas is placed in the lowest level of hell because of his betrayal to Jesus, an insult and traitor to God, himself.  Brutus and Cassius are placed here because of their betrayal to the secular world, a violation of trust.  In Dante's mind, these individuals belong in the lowest level of hell because of their abdication of the bonds that connect them to others as their own actions constituted a perversion of original intent.  I think that a modern example of this would be the recent revelations involving Joe Paterno and the cover up to protect Jerry Sandusky.  I think that Dante could place both men in this lowest circle.  Sandusky is akin to the Judas who betrayed the bond between he and the children that came to look up and idolize him.  In Dante's mind, Judas' betrayal of Jesus was a breaking of the bond of trust between he and the divine.  Sandusky broke the trust of the children that came trust him in much the same way.  Brutus and Cassius broke the trust of those in the divine and secular world.  Certainly, Joe Paterno broke the trust of so many who looked up to him as a model of integrity and honor in a world devoid of it.  The recent revelations that showed he actively took steps to avoid standing up for the trust of the public and the rights of Sandusky's victims, enabling the predation of youth to continue for over a decade would constitute as much in the same way of betrayal.  I think that a modern connection between the lowest level of Hell and the recent revelations about what happened at Penn State University's football program might yield some very powerful and sad paralels.

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