Inferno Canto 23




Gregor Thuswaldner is the Provost and Executive Vice President of Whitworth University. He is an expert in German and linguistics, and he is the editor of The Hermeneutics of Hell: Visions and Representations of the Devil in World Literature.

Questions for Reflection

  • What is the punishment for hypocrisy and what does the contrapasso reveal about Dante’s understanding of hypocritical fraud?
  • Why might Dante focus on religious figures when exploring the sin of hypocrisy?
  • At first glance, the inclusion of Caiaphas among the hypocrites may be surprising. Why wouldn’t he be punished as a “false counselor” (Inferno 26-27) based on his role in Christ’s passion narrative ? Why hypocrisy?
  • Does Dante here offer readers any constructive tools for addressing our contemporary problems with religious hypocrisy?


  • Dr. Gregor Thuswaldner
  • Whitworth University
  • Run Time 7:49