If 150 years in prison seems like meager penance for Bernie Madoff, consider where he would go in Dante's Inferno: the Ninth Circle of Hell. There, the world's worst sinners—betrayers—freeze in an iceworld kept cool by Satan himself. "Betrayal destroys the trust that binds humanity, and with it, the betrayer himself," Ralph Blumenthal writes in the New York Times.
Other sinners boil in blood or are tortured by snakes, but chilling with a six-winged, three-headed Lucifer is the ultimate punishment for the ultimate sin: breaking the bonds of trust. “Dante was interested in what a soul could do to itself,” one scholar said. “To betray everything you’re connected to is the bottom.”