Dante in Guantánamo

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Mark F writes that because

Mark F writes that because those whom Dante helps to torment in the Inferno are dead and damned by God, "to use Dante as a justification for torture is simply foolish." And indeed it would be, even for those who still believe in the justice of torture in the afterlife as Dante did. But Alberto Manguel does not do so; his argument is that the fictional Dante (depicted as a living man, by the way) is hardened and brutalized by the torture around him - even in the depiction of Dante the poet.

Robert Dawson more than 12 years ago

Misinterpretation of an Epic

Anyone who would use instances of 'torture' in Dante's Inferno to legitimize torture in the real world has a poor understanding of literature and Christian theology. It would be correct to assert that the instances of torture in the Inferno are justified because they show "obedience to God's law and acceptance of superior judgment". However, Dante is stating that the people in Hell deserve to be there because God allowed it. Dante is not making some defense of the use of torture. The people in Hell have already died and been judged.

To use Dante as a justification for torture is simply foolish. Nowhere in Christian orthodoxy is torture supported. What happens to the dead is a matter out of human control and should not be used to justify what happens to the living.

Mark F more than 13 years ago

How do we decide who to punish and when?

Until I saw the film,

"Taxi to the Dark Side" by director Alex Gibney, I would have agreed with what you say here, so beautifully.

This film also explores the ethical question of who is to blame for the torture in Bagram, Abu Ghraib, and Guantanamo. Is it the administration giving the orders or the soldiers carrying out their duties? After hearing the soldier's personal accounts of their experiences in this film and seeing their confused and battered mental states, and realizing this suffering will probably go on until they die, I am not sure anymore of my once unforgiving stance on punishing anyone who does harm to others.

How should it be dealt with?

Anonymous more than 13 years ago

Le cours de la vie.

Quand je pense
au premier
âge de ma
jeunesse, une
corporelle rime
silencieuse comme
une blanche
harmonie, et
un chant disparaît....

Francesco Sinibaldi

Francesco Sinibaldi more than 13 years ago