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 to their masters. It was also the place where Lucifer's real body was imprisoned.
Treachery was ringed by 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.
According to Lucifer, he used the souls of Ulysses of Ithaca, Alexander the Great, Attila the Hun and the knight Lancelot to escape this Circle of Hell. All failed to free him. Dante, unknowingly, was successful in freeing Lucifer, forcing him to confront the Prince of Darkness in a final battle.
- 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 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, who killed his younger brother Abel in a jealous rage, then attempted to conceal his crime from God. Here are imprisoned those who betrayed their families. Those that are condemned here are frozen up to their necks in ice. Mordred is among the damned here.
- Round 2: Antenora. Named after the Trojan general Antenor. When captured by the Greek army, although the Trojans were very willing to ransom him, Antenor betrayed Troy to the Greeks. Here are imprisoned those who betrayed their countries. The ice here reaches the base of the traitors' skulls. Dante encounters Count Ugolino here, gnawing on the skull of the man who had condemned him to die of starvation.
- Round 3: Ptolemaea. 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 then murdered them. Here are imprisoned those who betrayed their guests, people who came to their home for shelter. In many cultures, such an action was considered an abomination and subject to divine retribution. Those that are condemned here lie supine in the ice, which covers everything except for their faces.
- Round 4: Judecca. Named after Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus Christ, and as such is considered the greatest traitor of all. According to the Gospel of St. Matthew, once Judas realized what he had done, he hung himself (the Acts of the Apostles states that he died when his abdomen burst open while plowing a field). Here are imprisoned those who betrayed lords, masters and benefactors. All of the sinners punished within are completely encased in ice, 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, 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 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.
- Although the poet Dante may not have been aware of it, this circle bears a strong resemblance to the Norse underworld, Hel, which is depicted as a snowy, bleak wasteland bordering the frozen realm of Niflheimr. 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 of his death at the hands of the Avenger, and why Lucifer had really abducted Beatrice.
- The Chains of Judecca are named after the fourth round of this circle. As per their name, they also reach down through all 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.
- Although Cassius, Brutus and Judas are depicted in the original Inferno, they do not appear in the game. They do however appear in early concept art for Lucifer.
- Cassius and Brutus are given the worst of 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 had placed Caesar among those of 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.
- In the original epic Dante learns that the damned here do 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) had come from the lowest Circles (Attila and Alexander are in the circle of Violence for mass murder; 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 necessary to free him, as only Dante was guilty of all the sins they were combined: extreme violence (Attila, Alexander), fraud (Ulysses) and lust (Lancelot, who is given a mention in the Circle of Lust as a story character, though is not seen there). 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 chosen by God. Satan acts as the extreme example of this, in that he thought he could rule better than God, leading to his betrayal. 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 share in this form of power-assumption.
- The penalty of being frozen in the lake represents how very little to no love 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.
|Nine Circles of Hell|
|Limbo · Lust · Gluttony · Greed · Anger · Heresy · Violence · Fraud · Treachery|