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Dante Alighieri’s Inferno 28 is the place of the sowers of discord and scandal who are responsible for causing a split within their own communities; among them in the ninth bolge of the eighth circle is Muhammad whose mutilated body represents the division he brought to Christianity. A historical contextualization of the Inferno, however, confirms that the hostility between Christianity and Islam had emerged earlier with the rise of Islam as a political power in the seventh century. This paper examines Medieval and twenty-first century visual representations of this division within Christianity, which mirror the schism within Inferno 28. Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven (2005) and Gary Shore’s less-discussed film Dracula Untold (2014) provide a common ground to analyze the visual and verbal stimuli. In so doing, I identify the elements of naive responses to such texts, which help to minimize the conformity of the audience to classificatory thought systems, and, therefore, creates a dynamically constituted text open to multiple interpretations.
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