"But because fraud is man's peculiar vice, More it displeases God"

(Canto 11, lines 25-26)

Commentator Sapegno explains that fraud is the worst type of sin because it exploits and distorts man's special ability, the God-given faculty of reason. While Dante, naturally, frames his argument theologically, the idea that fraud is the worst of crimes has a long history and is famously summed up in the quote by Cicero: "While wrong may be done, then, in either of two ways, that is, by force or by fraud, both are bestial: fraud seems to belong to the cunning fox, force to the lion; both are wholly unworthy of man, but fraud is the more contemptible."