Inferno Canto 18




Susan Felch is the Director of the Center for Christian Scholarship at Calvin University, where she also teaches courses in English. She is the author of Teaching and Christian Imagination, and her research explores religion and literature, cultural studies, and 16th century British literature.

Questions for Reflection

  • Why is fraud a more serious sin than either incontinence or violence? How does fraud inhibit the possibility of flourishing human society? Do you agree with Dante’s assessment of fraud?
  • How does Dante use Jason to highlight the way that both love and language can be twisted, abused, and used to exploit others for selfish pleasure and gain? What might this contribute to our own thinking about love and language today?
  • Why are pimping and seducing sins that should be distinguished from lust and adultery (as in canto 5)? What role does a calculating will play in the sins of seduction punished here? How do the consequences of these sins often play out along gendered lines?
  • How is the flatterers’ immersion in excrement as their contrapasso also a revelation of their lives and character? How is flattery an abuse of love and language analogous to pimping and seducing?


  • Dr. Susan Felch
  • Calvin University
  • Run Time 13:41