1) Dante's Divine Comedy in many ways functions as a critique of his modern society; faced with violence and corruption in Florence, Dante reacts with moral outrage towards his contemporaries. For this prompt, find a story from our news today that strikes a chord of moral outrage in you. Summarize the story in detail and explain your outrage, making sure to cite your research. Then, connect your story back to The Inferno - is this an issue that Dante addresses in any way or is it something unique to our modern society? Would you and Dante be in agreement regarding this issue?
Our 21st century society certainly has its flaws. From violence, to fraud, to rape - the world tragically has all ends covered. Dante, in The Inferno, addresses his feelings towards these sins which were also committed in his time in Florence. One very real aspect of society which strikes a chord of moral outrage in me is gang violence. Violence from gangs is much more common than expected, and is at an alarmingly high rate in the United States. The reasoning behind many of these gangs' hatred is rooted from so long ago that no one even knows why they violently despise the other so vehemently. But, in spite of their lack of solid purpose, these gangs continue to ravage innocent people, rape unsuspecting victims, and scar people every day. These types of sinners could be punished under many different circles of Dante's Hell ( like a Venn diagram! Haha).
In the song Dance With the Devil by Immortal Technique, a recollection of a true story, a man named William (Billy) is pressured to join a gang because he believes it will provide a better life for he and his family. To join the gang, he is forced to sneak up on a woman in the street, rape her, and then murder her when finished. (Please disregard the foul language in the song if you look up the lyrics.) At the end of the attack, he reveals the face of the innocent, crying victim. He screams and begins to shutter and cringe. The limp, bloody woman was his own mother. The singer of the song at the end confesses that he was not the murderer and rapist, but rather one of the men pressuring the victim's son into the gang. He sings of how incredibly regretful he feels, and preaches to others who may be in that situation: "So when the devil wants to dance with you, you better say never, Because the dance with the devil might last you forever."
He warns everyone to be very careful, because "devils used to be gods, angels that fell from the top". This parallels Dante's Inferno quite well in the perception that everyone in life is a beautiful creation of God, but if the wrong choices are made anyone and everyone is susceptible to becoming a Devil, or sinner in Hell, very easily. The singer of the song is trying to help his fellow mankind before they make a mistake as grave as he did, which haunts him every day of his life.
This is an acoustic version of the song Dance with the Devil by Immortal Technique.
The song uses profanity and is somewhat graphic due to its raw and tragic subject matter.
Although this song specifically speaks about one situation, it really addresses bigger, world-wide problems. Incidents of violence such as this one happen far too often. These gangs would be punished in Circles 2, 5, 6, 7, and all bolgias except 3 and 4 and of Circle 8 if they were banished to Dante's Inferno. WOW! That is a lot of punishment. Deserved punishment, if I might add. Dante addresses lustful sinners in circle two, which would be where someone who committed rape would be sent. Also, circle seven is where the violent people are banished. Violent gang members would most definitely fit under both of these categories. During Dante's time there was no such thing as the "Bloods and Crips" (haha), however, as Dante mentions several times in the novel, there are feuding families in Florence which strongly resemble the competition between gangs in modern culture. Because of these rivalries between fellow men, gang members could also be sent to circle 8 bolgia 9, where Sowers of Discord are punished. These are sinners who disconnected connections or relationships in life. Gangs often unjustly disconnect families and friends by pressuring people into their gang or by framing people.
Dante's Hell would not be favorable for the violent gangs and their members resembling the ones in the song above. People who have committed crimes of this level of violence deserve punishment of equal penance.
This is a map from the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement site depicting the magnitude of gang-related
arrests due to violence.