Kaitlyn Beard

ITAL681 Ancient and Medieval Italy 

Professor Anna Marra

More CHI Projects at: https://mypages.unh.edu/hugemanities/spring-chi-play


We Hold These Truths 


The concept of truth is one of great complexity. By definition, the word truth means “the property of sentences, assertions, beliefs, thoughts, or propositions that are said, in ordinary discourse, to agree with the facts or to state what is the case,” (Truth | Definition, Importance, Theories, & Facts, 2009). In a philosophical sense, truth is beneath the surface of every situation, person, etc. Everyone has their own personal truths, as well as every situation having one ultimate truth. In the essence of social inequality, it is these situational and personal truths that allow and progress inequality within our society. When thinking about the inequality sustained within modern society, the quote “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness,” written into the Declaration of Independence by Thomas Jefferson comes to mind. The quote is quite ironic, being that many American citizens are not truly free. Social inequality is quite literally ingrained in our society. Based on personalized truths of the founders of modern society, different ethnic groups within America and around the world are victimized because of their decent. For my project, I decided to create the thoughts and feelings of someone who deals with social inequality through an art piece. The woman has her mouth taped shut reflecting the idea that the victims of inequality are not able to speak up on certain issues because they are viewed as “less than” compared to others in society. She is asking herself questions like “Why must I live in Hell during my time on Earth?” and “Why must I live in Hell for sins I did not commit?” as a parallel to “The Divine Comedy” by Dante Alighieri. As we learned throughout the semester, Dante’s book “Inferno” portrays Dante being guided through Hell and visiting those who have committed sins that lead them to Hell. In my piece, the woman wonders what she has done to live through Hell, but not during her afterlife, but during her time on Earth. In the words of Dante Alighieri, “Those who are here [Hell] can place no hope in death, and their blind life is so abject that they are envious of every other fate. The world will let no fame of theirs endure; both justice and compassion must disdain them; let us not talk of them, but look and pass.” These words said by Virgil to Dante in the third canto of “Inferno” explain that the sinners who are placed in that level of Hell are one’s of envy. They were blinded by wanting what they did not have and are now being punished. I wanted to include it with my piece because it explains what I imagine people who face inequality feel like. They envy a life that can be lived without discrimination or prejudice. They envy a life where they are equal. Truth is powerful, but many “truths” silence those that already face scrutiny for being human. These truths are a collection of the unfair, and directly correlate with the importance and capability of truth. 

Red background with a drawing of a woman with her mouth taped shut and the words "silenced by truth" written on the tape. A poem appears above with the repeating beginning of "why must i live in hell"





truth | Definition, Importance, Theories, & Facts. (2009). Encyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/topic/truth-philosophy-and-logic