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Question: Why do I need to know all the Punishments in Dante's Inferno!?
I feel like this is really messed up that my humanities prof!. is asking like 10 different questions on the punishments for like this and that!.!.!.

What is the point!? Why do I have to know this!? Do they just want to make sure we've read the book or what!? This seems absolutely absurd and I don't even believe in this!.

Help, please!. I feel like I'm actually having to experience all the punishments myself by memorizing them!.Www@QuestionHome@Com

Best Answer - Chosen by Asker:
Hmmm, I gather your major lies in one of the more concrete, tangible areas of study!? :)

There are several reasons that humanities is taught, sadly none as concrete as you're hoping for!. So, I can't provide it, and you won't find it!.

Humanities plays it's largest role in culture, and our understanding of it!. Simply, there are certain things that it's believed people will be better off for knowing!. A lot of great works of literature fall into that category!. The biggest ones are especially important because they haven't stopped coming up!. For instance, the film O Brother, Where Art Thou!? takes on a brand new light when one is familiar with The Odyssey!. These works are continuously referenced, and it often helps to 'get' the reference!.

Another reason that humanities is taught is because it helps people express themselves better, and have a broader base from which to do so!. If most of us have read and memorized the punishments in the Inferno than most people would understand a statement along the lines of, "Bill's gonna be munched in Lucifer's teeth for doing that to Ted!." Bill betrayed Ted, we all get it!. Sure, we could just say he betrayed Ted, but that image carries a tone and setting we all understand; it wasn't a minor transgression Bill made, it was serious!. And it extends well beyond that, but the basic idea is that by studying (and hopefully understanding) humanities we'll communicate and (hopefully) understand each other better!.

And it goes on but becomes even less tangible than those two reasons!.

And while memorizing these infernal punishments may seem tedious, if looked at pragmatically it's really not that difficult!. The punishments are poetic, and usually make some degree of sense for the crime!. also, the work goes well beyond Inferno, so you're really only having to study a portion of it, and that's something you can be thankful for, right!?

As a side note, I have a similar issue with Math and Life Science courses!. I don't understand why I have to learn bizarre equations, or complex cell structures when they won't affect my daily life at all!. It has to do with the way we process the world!. What's useless to you is very important to me, and perhaps the opposite is true as well!. And that's reason enough for both of us to at least try to suffer through our tortures with a smile and positive outlook!. Because just a little understanding of what's important to each other will make life better for both of us, and will help society as whole in the long run!. That's not curing physical cancer, but it is curing a social one!. Imagine if we all tried to understand each other's world views just a little better, what a place we'd live in then!

Good luck!.Www@QuestionHome@Com

How much time have you got!? Larry Niven wrote "Inferno" which is a modern day retelling of Dante, in which Niven had himself escorted through Hades by Mussolini ( whom Niven seems to have a soft spot for), and visits all the punishments on modern folk he thinks deserve them!. It really opened my eyes to how the punishments fit the crimes and its FUN!. Surely no-one is asking you to believe any of this stuff - you are supposed to just enjoy it and perhaps make use of Dante's really neat insght to imform your own judgement of the world!. And if the teacher really is some dry old stick well - it doesn't mean Dante isn't brilliant and!.!.!.!.hey - make a list of the punishments!. Force them into Limericks! Make fun of them!. That way you will remember them and if you dare hand your verses in, really get up their snooty noses!. Do it!.Www@QuestionHome@Com

the punishment's supposed to "match" the sin!. if you know how this matching is done (or contrapasso in Dante's words), you'd get at the root of the sin or the nature of sin and the justice of the punishment!.
humanities is learning what it is to be human, sharing the same things with others, and perhaps learning from them!. all in order to be better persons!.Www@QuestionHome@Com

It's easy because the punishment always fits the crime!.

You're being tested over mundane things like the various punishments so that your teacher knows that you actually read the book!. You're being taught the book because it's the single most important religious text in Christendom, excluding The Bible!.Www@QuestionHome@Com

Humanities teaches us about ourselves, through our past (History), our perceptions (Art), and our beliefs (Religion and philosophy)!. Humanities shows us how we got to where we are today!. Without the Humanist movement in the Renaissance, we wouldn't have science (Francis Bacon created the Scientific Method)!. Descartes, on of the most influential mathematicians in the world, was also a philosopher!. Humanities Without the teachings of Aristotle, we would have no biology or botany!.

So, for you science-minded people out there, without Humanities, we would have no science!.Www@QuestionHome@Com

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