Dante On Islam Essay Research Paper Divine

Dante On Islam Essay, Research Paper Divine Retribution ( in Italian contrapasso) is clearly shown in canto 28 by showing the punishment of the sowers of schism and scandal in the 9th bolgia of

Dante On Islam Essay, Research Paper

Divine Retribution ( in Italian contrapasso) is clearly shown in canto 28 by

showing the punishment of the sowers of schism and scandal in the 9th bolgia of

circle 8. To begin this canto, Dante talks of the many wars in Puglia

(southeastern Italy) and across the peninsula which have been known as the

bloodiest. He does this to show that this 9th bolgia is far bloodier than these,

and beyond description. Those in this bolgia are punished by having to walk a

track where they are cut open and slashed, but their wounds heal only to be cut

again. The father of the worldwide religion of Islam, Mahomet, is placed here,

along with his follower, Ali. To illustrate the severity of the punishments to

which these people are under, Dante uses the idea of blood and bones with

decaying flesh. He states that the extent is incomprehensible, and cannot be

captured by words, yet he says that if the bones and blood of the many wars that

have plagued the peninsula of Italy could be piled up, they would not compare to

the sight of the 9th bolgia. The punishment is extremely grotesque and demeaning

as shown by the description of Mahomet as being ?ripped open from his chin to

where we fart. Between his legs his guts spilled out, with the heart and other

vital parts, and the dirty sack that turns to *censored* whatever the mouth

gulps down.? The disgust that accompanies this description must be intended

and it is no coincidence that is the father of the nation of Islam. With Mahomet

and Ali are others which can be classified as being sowers of scandal as opposed

to schism in the religious sense. They are the causes of wars, troubles, and

many persons? discord and death. Some have their throats slits, others cut

beyond recognition, and others have their arms chopped off. Bertran de Born, who

counciled the young prince Henry to revolt against his father, King Henry II of

England, is among those. With the young princes death, brought about the

imprisonment of Bertran. He states that since his head is the home of his evil

thoughts, and with his plan unfoiled, the decapitation of his head is fitting

for the ?perfect contrapasso.? So he walks with his head in his hand

swinging by his hair as if it were a lantern (again the notion of his head being

the encasement of light and ideas). In a whole, the implications of classifying

Mahomet and Ali in the this 9th bolgia lead one to think that Dante was making a

conclusion on the entire religion itself. To say the least it is devastating and

very narrow minded, but more importantly it shows the extent of disrespect shown

by Dante on two levels: the fact that Mahomet and Ali are place so low in hell

and are punished in such a disgusting place and manner; and that they are

accompanied by such persons as those who are responsible for creating strife.

This implies that they too can be classified as those who are instigators, which

is patronizing for those who believe them to be prophets (Muslims do greatly

outnumber Catholics). Therefor, in the sense of contrapasso, this placement of

these religious leaders would be unjust, for, this is a worldwide religion, and

no one on earth can state that they are sure of the ?true religion.? The

more intelligent response would be that all religions must be respected, and not

deemed frivolous or un-important. I say this not to directly criticize Dante

solely, yet the idea of religious prejudice, which was still widely practiced by

Catholics less that 50 years ago, and is still today. It is not just by

Catholics, and no one is innocent. It is the incessant notion of religious

supremacy that has come to be believed by so many,who will not accept the idea

of the validity of other religions. It is the idea of conformity that yields


Dante’s Inferno, Canticle (Book) 1 of his Divine Comedy