Canto VIII: The City of Dis The Inferno By: Ashley Martin, Nikki Halstead, and Dan Slaney
Virgil and Dante are traveling on a boat to the City of Dis • Virgil and Dante encounter Phlegyas who take them across the Styx. • Phlegyas is a boatman. • Virgil and Dante are traveling down the Styx. • The Styx is the home of the wrathful. • Virgil and Dante are traveling to the City of Dis. • The City of Dis is home to the fallen angels. • The City of Dis is the capital of Hell.
Virgil, Dante, and Phlegyas reach the iron gates of the City of Dis. • Dante sees the red mosques of the City of Dis in the distance and knows they are nearing the city. • The red mosques glow eternally. • Surrounding the gates are a host of fallen angels. • The fallen angels refuse Virgil and Dante’s entrance to the city. • Phlegyas lets Virgil and Dante off the boat.
Virgil tries to persuade the fallen angels to grant them entrance to the city. • Virgil goes up to speak to the fallen angels. • The fallen angels request to speak to Virgil alone. • The fallen angels laugh and shut the gates in Virgil’s face. • He does not gain entry to the city, but instead at Virgil’s request the fallen angels gather around Virgil and laugh. Then they slam the gates into his face.
Virgil prays for entrance to the city. • A guardian angel comes down and opens the gates for Dante and Virgil. • Virgil and Dante get out of the boat and continue into the city.
Why is Styx the home to the wrathful? We concluded: The Styx is a river. Rivers can be either good or bad, good meaning they supply resources, but they also cause floods and kill people. Similarly, wrathful people can sometimes be good, but they will do anything to harm you and show extreme hatred.
Do you think that the fallen angels would have let Virgil and Dante into the city if the guardian angel hadn't come? Why? No, we don’t think that the fallen angels would have let Dante and Virgil into the city because they showed no intentions of letting them in before the guardian angel came. The fallen angels laugh and joke about Virgil asking for admittance to the city so this shows that they have no intentions of letting them into the city.
What made Dante change his mind about becoming an atheist? We concluded: Dante realized that when Virgil prayed for an angel to come and an angel did come, it was proof that there is a God and that he listened to Virgil’s prayers. This event changed Dante’s views about God.
Why does the fallen angel ask for Virgil to come alone? We concluded: The fallen angel asks for Virgil to come alone because Virgil is dead in the human sense, but Dante is still alive, so the angels didn’t really trust Dante (why would he want to get through the City of Dis?) but they knew that Dante had to be there. “Let him try his living luck. You who are dead can come only to stay.”
Before the angels slam the door into Virgil's face, what do you think Virgil says to them? We concluded: We think he says that Dante is trying to get to Heaven and needs to go through the city. He also says that Dante is going to go through the city with him. This amuses the fallen angels, that a living person would go through the city, so they laugh. But they also know Dante is trying to get to Heaven, which is their enemy, so they slam the door in Virgil’s face.
Why is the City of Dis home to the fallen angels? We concluded: The fallen angels are the back-up for Lucifer and are second in power, so they live in the most important place, the capital.
Why didn't the fallen angels let Virgil into the city? We concluded: Virgil was going to take Dante with him into the city, and anyone living was not allowed in the city. Dante was trying to get to Heaven and the fallen angels opposed.
What did Virgil mean when he said, "Take heart. Nothing can take our passage from us when such a power has given warrant for it"? We concluded: Virgil is saying that he believes God is more powerful than the fallen angels and when he prays to him, God will send an angel to open the gates.
Why did Virgil want to speak to the fallen angels alone? We concluded: Virgil wants to talk to the fallen angels alone because he needs to persuade them to let him in with Dante.
How Dante's real life relates to the story... At this point in Dante’s life, he is struggling with his beliefs. He is becoming an atheist because of all the bad things that are happening in his life now. His one true love, Beatrice, just died at the age of 25 and this messes up his numerical pattern. He begins to question if there even is a God because ‘Why would he let this happen to him?’ Dante was also having suicidal thoughts. This relates to the story because he lost hope that there is a God and in the story he loses hope that he will get into the city. Then the guardian angel comes down when Virgil prays and Dante realizes that there is a God and He sent the angels down. Dante was afraid when Virgil left his side and he was losing all hope and he didn’t think that he was going to get out alive. This was a turning point in the story and also in Dante’s real life, and he portrayed his real life in his story.