What do the sinners in Dante's Inferno all have in common? Why can't we take what the sinners say at face value?

The sinners in the Inferno all have in common having violated God's will. Unlike the pagans in limbo, hell's sinners were born after the coming of Christ, and therefore are responsible for knowing and doing the will of God. We can't take what the sinners say at face value because they are self-deluded and wish to deceive others to earn sympathy they do not deserve.

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The sinners in Dante's Inferno have committed a variety of crimes, from lust to murder, which may not seem to have much in common, but they all share the common theme of having preferred self will over God's will. All the sinners have violated God's will. They are all guilty because they were born after God's full revelation came to Earth in the form of Jesus Christ and the words of the New Testament. Unlike the pagans in limbo, the inhabitants of hell don't have the excuse of not knowing right from wrong; if they don't know basic Christian doctrine, it is their own fault. This is the same principle that allows the state to punish people for traffic violations: not knowing that you can't make a right turn on red, for example, doesn't excuse a driver. If you drive, you are expected to know and obey the law.

The sinners can't be trusted because they are both self-deluded and make every attempt to deceive others to build sympathy for themselves. Dante faints in pity, for example, as Francesca tells her story because her narrative is so beguiling. However, Virgil, and later Beatrice, scold him for being deceived. Those in hell are not to be pitied because God's justice, unlike human justice, is perfect: nobody is there by mistake.

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