Treachery was the ninth Circle of Hell. This last circle was dedicated to those people who betrayed their loved ones, friends, best friends, countries, cities, guests and even their masters. It was also the place where Lucifer's real body was imprisoned.
Treachery was a frozen landscape, ringed by the Classical and Biblical Giants who symbolized pride and other spiritual flaws lying behind acts of treachery. They will attempt to kill the player with their frozen breath.
Before Lake Cocytus, the final area of this realm, there was a crumbling ice bridge as well as the final Chain of Judecca. According to Lucifer, he used the souls of Ulysses of Ithaca, Alexander the Great, Attila the Hun and the Arthurian knight Lancelot to escape from this circle of Hell. All failed to free him. Dante was successful in freeing Lucifer when he broke through the final Chain of Judecca, forcing him to confront the Prince of Darkness in a final battle for his soul and the salvation of humanity.
- Lake Cocytus: "The ice held the king of the underworld and his legions of treacherous shades. The lake itself was formed from the tears of Lucifer himself and the flapping of his wings to keep it frozen."
- In the Divine Comedy, the ninth Circle of Hell is ringed by the Biblical and Classical Giants, representing extreme acts of hubris and rebellion against the divine. Nimrod (although not a mythological giant, Nimrod is best known for creating the Tower of Babel), Ephialtes (who with his brother Otus tried to storm Mount Olympus during the Gigantomachy) and Antaeus (the monstrous son of the Earth itself, who lowers Dante and Virgil into the ninth circle of Hell) are found here. Briareus, Tityos and Typhon were also mentioned to be here as well.
- There are four concentric zones (or "Rounds") in the ninth circle of Hell. Each are named after a notable traitor in history or mythology.
- Round 1 - Caina: named after the Biblical Cain, the first murderer, who killed his younger brother Abel in a jealous rage and attempted to conceal his crime from God. Here, those who betrayed their families are imprisoned. Those that are condemned here are frozen up to their necks in ice. They are able to bend their necks, which provides them some protection against the cold winds, though not very much. Mordred, the illegitimate son of King Arthur of Camelot, is among the Damned here.
- Round 2 - Antenora: named after the Trojan General, Antenor, who betrayed his homeland to the Greek army despite the Trojans' willingness to ransom him when Antenor was captured. Here, those who betrayed their countries are imprisoned. The ice here reaches the base of the traitors' skulls, leaving them unable to bend their necks. Dante encounters Count Ugolino here, gnawing on the skull of the man who condemned him to die from starvation.
- Round 3 - Ptolomaea: named after Ptolemy, son of Abubus. Despite being married to a daughter of the Biblical Simon Maccabaeus, Ptolemy invited his father-in-law and two of his brothers-in-law to a banquet and murdered them. Here, those who betrayed their guests are imprisoned, along with those who mistreated people who were sheltered in their homes. In many cultures, such an action was considered an abomination and subject to divine retribution. Those that are condemned here lay supine in the ice, which covers everything except for their faces. When they cry, the tears freeze and seal up their eyes; even the comfort of tears is denied to them. At this ring, Dante meets Fra Alberigo, who asks him to wipe off his icy tears, but Dante refuses on account of his horrific acts.
- Round 4 - Judecca: named after Judas Iscariot, a former Apostle who betrayed Jesus Christ; he is considered the greatest traitor of all in the Christian world. According to the Gospel of St. Matthew, once Judas realized what he had done, he hung himself (the Acts of the Apostles instead states that he died when his abdomen burst open, while plowing a field he had purchased with the money gained by betraying Jesus). Here, those who betrayed their lords, masters and benefactors are imprisoned. All of the sinners who are punished within are completely encased in ice and distorted in all conceivable positions. Due to having no one to talk to here, Dante and Virgil moved on to the center of the ninth circle of Hell.
- At the center of the ninth Circle of Hell, Satan is depicted as a giant and terrifying beast with six wings and three faces (one red, one black and one a pale yellow), an inversion of the Holy Trinity. Satan is frozen waist-deep in ice. His right and left heads gnaw on Cassius and Brutus (the Roman senators who betrayed and murdered Julius Caesar), feet first in those mouths. In the central, most vicious mouth is Judas Iscariot. Judas is being administered the most horrifying torture of the three traitors: his head was gnawed by Satan's mouth and his back is forever being skinned by Satan's claws.
- In the game, many of the Damned can be seen within the ice walls if the player gets close. One instance is in the final pole climb on the way to the ice bridge. They can also be seen on the platform where the player encounters the second Ice Giant and the last two Archdemons in the game.
- The penalty of being frozen in the lake represents how very little to no love that these perpetrators had in their hearts to commit such an act. The degree to which they are frozen is proportional to the wickedness of their crime.
- Although the poet Dante may not have been aware about it, this circle bears a strong resemblance to the Norse underworld, Hel, which is depicted as a snowy and bleak wasteland bordering the frozen realm of Niflheimr. The traitors in this underworld are imprisoned on an island of torment before being thrown into Niflheimr to freeze for eternity.
- Ironically, despite being known as the Circle of Judas, no Silver Judas Coins are found here. The last coin is actually found in Violence.
- It is in this circle that Dante finally learns about his death at the hands of the Avenger and why Lucifer really abducted Beatrice.
- The Chains of Judecca are named after the fourth round of this circle. As per their name, they also reached down through all of the circles of Hell to the ninth, binding Lucifer there.
- In the Divine Comedy, according to Francesca da Polenta, her husband Giovanni Malatesta is damned to this region, specifically Caina, for killing both her and his younger brother Paolo when he caught the two having an affair.
- Although Cassius, Brutus and Judas are depicted in the original Inferno, they did not appear in the game. They appeared in the early concept art for Lucifer.
- Cassius and Brutus are given the worst of the punishments alongside Judas not only for being traitors, but because their treachery destroyed a rare chance at a united Italy under Caesar's reign. Dante Alighieri placed Caesar among those in Limbo due to his desire to unify the Roman Empire as a single nation and for his (politically motivated) aid to the lower classes of Rome. In his view, Caesar would have prevented the fracture of Italy into city-states and the future factions which would lead to civil wars. While Cassius betrayed Caesar out of resentment for his rise in power, Brutus betrayed Caesar, his superior and father-figure, under peer pressure from the Senate due to family pride. Both killed themselves while being pursued by Octavian and Mark Antony.
- In the original epic, Dante learns that the Damned here did not have to be dead to have their souls sent to this particular circle. Once treachery is committed, the sinner's soul automatically descends to Cocytus while the body on Earth is taken over by a demon.
- Lucifer's former pawns to achieve his freedom were never mentioned in such a role in the original Inferno (the subplot of Satan attempting to free himself from Hell is unique to the game). Furthermore, almost all of those agents (willing or unwilling) came from the lowest Circles (Attila and Alexander are in the circle of Violence for mass murder, while Ulysses is trapped in the circle of Fraud for deception with the Trojan Horse). Lancelot is only mentioned in the original Inferno as being the fictional catalyst for the affair between Paolo and Francesca when they read his story, but Lancelot does not appear himself in Hell.
- It is possible that all four of the above-mentioned pawns of Lucifer did not meet the full criteria that was necessary to free him as only Dante was guilty of all of the sins and they were combined: Extreme violence (Attila, Alexander), fraud (Ulysses) and lust (Lancelot). Lucifer might have needed a soul guilty of all of these as well as treachery to be evil enough to break the Chains of Judecca.
- Treachery is unrelated to Divine Love or a corrupted virtuous desire. Hence, it is placed lower in Hell by Dante. However, treachery can be said to be a natural consequence of the Deadly Sins (upon which Circles 2 through 5 are based) and in particular the Deadly Sin of Pride.
- Treachery in its own right is wasteful to Life itself. It is more serious than the other previous sins due to the sinners' assumption of being able to claim absolute authority over any other living thing including someone that was chosen by God; raising oneself up at the expensive of others. Satan acts as the extreme example of this as he thought that he could rule better than God, leading to his betrayal and fall. As such, the Traitors are committing a form of hubris against God, the worst of all and are placed among the lowest circles (Violence, Fraud) which shared in this form of power-assumption.
|Nine Circles of Hell|
|Limbo · Lust · Gluttony · Greed · Anger · Heresy · Violence · Fraud · Treachery|