The Divine Comedy: VIII. Panders and Seducers

Sandro Botticelli's Panders and Seducers
Sandro Botticelli’s “Panders and Seducers”

“I saw horned demons with enormous whips,
who lashed those spirits cruelly from behind
Ah, how their first strokes made those sinners lift
their heels! Indeed no sinner waited for
a second stroke to fall-or for a third.”

Dante assigned panders and seducers to the Eighth Circle of the Inferno, people who seduce women or prostitute women to others for their own profit. In a sense, the seducers are worse than panders, because the seducers corrupt their victims and generate vices in them, whereas panders attempt to profit from existing weaknesses or vices of others.

According to Dictionary.com, pander is “a person who caters to or profits from the weaknesses or vices of others”. This definition applies to the gambling, tobacco and other industries, IMO. Advertising and selling cigarettes to youths is seduction, and once the youths are seduced, they are ready for pandering or milking, as the market has been established. The law makes a rather artificial distinction between seduction and pandering: If adult customers choose to buy their products, it’s legal, but if the industry specifically target underage youths, it is illegal.

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