The betrayal in Dante’s Inferno and in the Arabian Nights.
The Middle Ages is a very great period as one may find a great number of genuine masterpieces of art that were created at that time. Speaking about the poetry of the Middle Ages, this period is rich in good writers and Dante Alighieri is one of them. Dante is an Italian poet who wrote many breathtaking poems. In some of his works, Dante described Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven. In fact, these depictions made a big impact on Western art. Moreover, in his works, he described his own point of view. However, we are going to discuss the betrayal in two of Dante’s works “Inferno” and “The Arabian Nights”.
Inferno. In fact, “Inferno” is the first part of Dante’s greatest poem “The Divine Comedy”. In this part, the writer describes his journey through the Nine Circles of Hell. While reading “The Divine Comedy”, everyone can see how our soul follows God. The first part shows us the identification and refusal of sin. Each circle demonstrates a variety of sins and shows how people can be punished. The final point after these circles is situated in the center of the Earth. Satan is also there (Durling). Dante goes through all these nine circles and gets to the last one. In accordance with this poem, it is the darkest and the lowest point of Hell. The ninth circle is the place for people who betrayed. They are depicted to be immersed in ice. It is the place for people who returned evil for kindness, love, and good. These people get into the frozen lake.
Speaking about the description of the betrayal in this poem, Dante gave us many nice examples. In accordance with his point of view, the betrayal was one of the worst sins for him. There is a nice quotation in this poem about it: “. . . know that as soon as any soul betrays/As I betrayed, his body’s snatched away and taken by a demon that controls it, until the time arrives for it to die.” (Durling). This quotation can have a different meaning for different people. In any way, it means that all the evil we do can return back to us. As a result, all of us can be punished for our sins.
One of the brightest examples of the betrayal in Dante’s “Inferno” is immersed in ice, Satan with three heads waves his bat’s wings, which induce potent storms that freeze the Cocytus River. Moreover, these three heads chew the heads of other betrayers, Cassius, Brutus, and Judas. There is a nice quotation:
“... he had three faces: one in front bloodred;
and then another two that, just above
the midpoint of each shoulder joined the first;
and at the crown, all three were reattached;
the right looked somewhat yellow, somewhat white;
the left in its appearance was like those
who come from where the Nile, descending, flows.” (Durling)
It is considered to be the representation of devouring, which illustrates the unholy cruelty betrayal imposes on others. In general, Satan got his beauty, wisdom, and power from God. He does not think that he should do or give something back to him. In other words, he just owned these gifts and what is more, is that he continues to attack his Creator and the Trinity of the Godhead.
As for Judas, he is alike to Satan. He is one of the students and nearest friends of Christ who observed the sincere love, godly teaching, and wonderful miracles of the Creator. However, he turned evil for good and hate for love. The same situation is with Cassius and Brutus. In accordance with the historical facts, they betrayed Julius Caesar, the great Roman leader. They killed him. The point is that betrayal is one of the most serious sins. Moreover, everyone can do this sin. People can betray their nearest and dearest. A child can betray his/her parents, parents can betray their children, and people can betray their friends, relatives, God, and even themselves.
One more example is depicted with Adam and Eva in the Garden of Eden. Dante describes that God does a big good deal to Satan but he returns it to evil. (Durling) Speaking about Judas, he did not realize the problem when he betrayed his closest friend, Christ. He just did not value him and their friendship. However, he even did not respect, honor, and even thank the God who was close to him.
Dante Alighieri in his work “Inferno” illustrates the main sins people commit during their lives. He figures out that betrayal is one of the worst among others. The point is that each sin can have unpleasant consequences. Unfortunately, not all people realize the seriousness of the problem. Of course, everyone has his/her own faith and belief. We do not know for sure what happens to people after their death. It is a rather complicated question. In any way, life is a complicated and unique thing. It gives us everything we are worth. If you lie, someone can lie to you. If you betray, it can happen to you as well. Some people can face their punishment in some life situations, while others can have a deal with the law. Everyone can be punished for his/her sins.
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The Arabian Nights.
As for this work, it differs a lot from the “Inferno”. This is the whole collection of 1001 tales. The story is about the Sultan Shahrayar and his young wife Scheherazade. (Haddawy) The point is that when the Sultan Shahrayar found out that his first wife was unfaithful, he just killed her. He promised himself to kill his every new wife after the first night they spend together. In such a way, he wanted to avoid the unfaithfulness. However, when he married Scheherazade, everything changed. This girl knew how to impress her husband. She decided each night to tell him a tale. Her tale never ended, as she always stopped in the middle of the story. In such a way, she found out how to prevent her death.
In general, “The Arabian Nights” is a majestic and significant work of Dante. This work represents the Islamic culture. This work is considered to give people moral lessons through storytelling. In such a way, everyone can get to know the main life lessons on clear examples. Usually, parents try to teach their children with the help of different fairy tales. Each story comprises good and bad deals. However, everyone can find out something useful and important for him/her.
Speaking about the betrayal in Dante’s work “The Arabian Nights”, the Sultan Shahryar lost his faith in love. His first wife, whom she loved and respected, betrayed him. He was very upset. That is why he decided to marry a new woman every night. Moreover, he decided to kill his every new wife until the morning. In such a way, he wanted to prevent the possible betrayal of his new wives.
In accordance with Dante’s thoughts, the Sultan Shahryar also wanted to take revenge on women in general. However, his new wife found out a rather smart solution. She attracted and impressed her husband by storytelling. It was her main power. (Haddawy) She was rather smart and knew many fairy tales. Moreover, she knew how to intrigue her husband. That is why she always told only half of the story.
In such a way, every night the Sultan was interested and was waiting for another part of the story. She used to do this for 1001 nights. However, after she spent all these nights with her husband, Scheherazade decided to show her husband their three children. She had born them during these 1001 nights. After this, the Sultan Shahryar decided not just to give Scheherazade her life but he also assured her that he would forget about his horrors. He promised that he would forget everything bad in his life. There is a nice quotation to this:
“Then she ceased to speak, and when King Shahryar heard her speech and profited by that which she said, he summoned up his reasoning powers and cleansed his heart and caused his understanding revert and turned to Allah Almighty and said to himself: ‘Since there befell the Kings of the Chosroes more than that which hath befallen me, never whilst I live shall I cease to blame myself for the past.’” (Haddawy)
Dante demonstrated the potent power of a miracle love. He uses multiple examples in his work “The Arabian Nights” to show his readers how true love can influence our lives. Moreover, he shows that love has not just a magical but a healing power as well. It does not matter what kind of hurt you feel. It is more important to know that love is able to solve all problems. One more important thing is that when you love somebody, you can not betray him/her. The point is if you betray this person, you betray yourself as well. However, when you truly love somebody, you cannot lie or betray him/her. It should be pointed out that Dante presents Christianity as something vital. Religious beliefs and teachings can be found on the levels of the author’s “Inferno”. The first circle is Limbo. There Danto put people with high moral qualities that still will be punished because they do not believe in God or lived before Christianity appearance. Vergil says that they will not be saved and will remain in Hell (Dante). It is important to understand that Dante does not pay attention that the person may be an honest and kind one; if he or she is not a Christian, there is no way to escape from Inferno. Danto places to Limbo such great thinkers like Homer, Ovid, and Horace. It appears that Christianity is more important than anything else. Apparently, Dante places all the sins in accordance with the levels of their hardness which respond to the Christian tradition. In the Canto 11, Dante puts those who are lustful, deal with magic, barrators, and other “small criminals” to the second circle of Hell. At the same time, there is Pope Nicholas III who used a church for his personal purpose (Dante) in the seventh circle. According to Dante, the real faithful person should care only about God and forget about all the personal issues. The author argues that in front of God all people are equal and even if the sinner a Pope, it does not mean that he would not have to pay for his sins.
If you compare Dante’s “Inferno” with “The Arabic Nights”, you can find out that the plot differs a lot. It is not going to be a surprise, as the “Divine Comedy” is one of the greatest works of this writer. This work was inspired by the Christian religion. However, when it is going about “The Arabian Nights”, which is also one of the greatest Dante’s works, it illustrates more the Islamic culture.
In the poem “Inferno”, the writer demonstrates how our souls go through the hardest way to understand and cope with the sins we commit during life. While going through the nine circles, we can feel everything we do to other people. That is why if you make some crimes or betray somebody, you can be punished in the end. However, this poem has a rather unpredictable ending. The power of love moves the sun and other stars. In other words, love can save the world and bring happiness to our life.
However, in “The Arabic Nights”, we can see that the Sultan Shahryar suffered from the betrayal of his first wife. It was the main reason why he is so cruel. He just wanted to take revenge on other women by killing them before they even think to betray him. In any way, the magic power of true love plays a big role. Finally, the Sultan believes his wife Scheherazade and decides not to kill her.
To sum up, love is the main mover of the universe. All of us have some frights and sins. Moreover, everyone can make some mistakes and hurt his/her nearest and dearest people. In any way, we do not know for sure what is at the end of people’s life. Of course, there are many different theories; Dante’s theory is one of the most widespread. However, love has a rather potent and magic power. It can treat our fears, frights, diseases, and hurts. If people are cruel and always try to hurt each other (it absolutely does not matter whom you try to hurt your parents, friends, relatives, familiars, or just unknown people), you can be punished for your bad deals. The point is that all people need to be sincere and love each other, as it is very important to stay humane in any situation. Many scientists, philosophers, writers, and other smart people tried to open the secrets of the afterlife. There are many opinions and theories. Most of them have the same sense that all sins can have unpleasant consequences. That is why it is better to think about your actions today, in order to avoid all the possible punishments.