In the Divine Comedy, Dante shows us that to him, the worst of all sins is fraud. He even breaks fraud down into smaller parts, being; seducers and panderers, flatterers, simoniacs, fortune tellers, grafters, hypocrites, thieves, evil counselors, sowers of discord, and counterfeiters or falsifiers. In Dante’s view, these are the souls who in life betrayed the confidence of another. They preyed on other people solely for gain and knowingly deceived without concern for the other person’s well-being.
Dante believes that people who have committed fraud against someone they are bound to, have sinned the greatest of all sins. The people that were found in that circle did not just betray a stranger or someone they didn’t know well, they betrayed someone who loved and respected them. They went against their own kin. The ones who fell closest to hell, were those who betrayed not just their kin, but God himself. He looks at fraud as the worst sin because it is what Lucifer uses to make others sin. Lucifer gives people false hope for doing wrong things, which lead them down wrong paths. Also Dante relates fraud or deceit to all of the other sins. That each sin committed started with some act of fraud against someone or something.
In my mind, I can somewhat agree with Dante’s views on the topic of fraud. This is a very serious sin, especially when committed against someone who is close to you. It is one that breaks eternal ties between those who are close to you. And when committed against somewhat who may not be as close, it can still have long-term effects. For example, when a thief steals something from a stranger, the stranger will forever fear the possibility of that happening again.
At the same time, it is hard to classify that as the worst sin. It is hard to compare a liar to a murderer. Someone who knowingly takes the life of another human being, in my mind, should be punished far greater than a thief. Murderers would seem to be at a completely different level than those who commit fraud. It seems that Dante may have had a more personal experience with deceit, than murder.
Or perhaps another sin that could be considered worst than fraud would be adultery. Which Dante classifies as only the second circle, falling under a lustful sin. This sin would seem to be far worse than most others as it not only has to do with being deceitful against someone you’re close to, but someone whom you have promised to give your life to and no one else. Adultery is the ultimate deceit against loved friends and family members.
With Dante’s views on fraud, you are drawn to think that he has serious issues regarding possible past experiences that he may have had regarding the topic. At least in today’s society, I think that although fraud is still a serious sin to most of us, it is not the worst of all the sins. There are far greater sins to watch out for, and we all must do our best to avoid them at all costs.