Infidelity is a theme found throughout both Dante’s Inferno and One Thousand and One Nights. In the first text, Dante -the protagonist and narrator of the story- first happens upon the unfaithful in the Second Circle of Hell found in Canto V. These individuals are facing punishment for eternity due to their lustful nature as human beings (Alighieri Canto V). The consequences of acting upon their lustful urges result in the adulterers eternally being thrust into an:
“infernal storm, eternal in its rage,
sweeps and drives the spirits [shades] with its blast:
it whirls them, lashing them with punishment” (Canto V, lines 31-33).
In addition to these individuals, the unfaithful can be found in the Ninth Circle, in which those who committed treason during the course of their humanity are punished for eternity (Cantos XXI-XXXIV). Despite the fact that treason is not always associated with infidelity, it is notable to point out that seeing as treason is an act of betrayal, the individual that committed treason has been unfaithful to some entity. Dante lists this as the last circle in Hell, suggesting that...
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...ne (556). Another example can be found in The Tale of the Enchanted King, in which an adulteress transforms half of her husband into stone and tortures him daily after he has maimed her lover (599-601). Because of the acts committed by individuals in both of these narratives, justice is sought by individuals which the acts were against. This shows that human imperfection and failure is at times reprimanded by the use of justice in various forms.
Because of themes used throughout literature, readers are able to have a firmer grasp on consequences relating to human acts of imperfection and failure. Examples of literature that are influential in doing this include Dante’s Inferno and One Thousand and One Nights. By using themes such as infidelity and justice, the authors of each of the texts are able to illuminate the consequences of human imperfection and failure.
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