Sunday, November 2, 2008

Politicians, Dante, and the 8th Circle of Hell

I was refreshing my memory on Dante's Inferno today (I haven't read it since my freshman year in high school, and a friend made a comment about one of the circles of hell, and I needed a quick refresher. The comment, btw, mentioned hypocrites' place in Dante's hell), and discovered something amusing. Before I get to that, two things: 1) I don't believe that Dante was a big an authority on hell as he'd have us believe (His ideas are pretty self-serving. I mean, assuming that his enemies would be consigned to hell? Not too egotistical.) But for the purposes of this blog entry, his ideas are pretty convenient for me ;)

2) I think we can safely agree that most--possibly not all, but surely a large portion--politicians are corrupt. (Politics and corruption go hand in hand, right?)

So, anyway. It turns out that the 8th Circle of Hell has a space (a bolgia) reserved especially for corrupt politicians. They are immersed in a lake of boiling pitch. Now, I have to say that I think that in this century, we could probably come up with something more creative than that as a punishment for corrupt politicians, but Dante had to work with what he had available to his imagination in the 14th century.

This brings me to this question, though: if we do assume that most politicians are corrupt, and that Dante's right and that sends them to hell (I might address that in a future post. Dante apparently didn't believe in grace or forgiveness.), does hell have enough space? Will Satan have to expand?