Websites Primary Source: • http://danteworlds.laits.utexas.edu/indexi.html Secondary Source: • http://people.eku.edu/kingt/inferno/
The Dark Wood “I went astray from the straight road and woke to find myself alone in a dark wood” Halfway through his life, Dante finds himself wandering alone in a dark forest, having lost his way on the “truepath”. Yes, this is symbolic.
The Dark Wood-The Beasts • Inferno begins on the evening of Good Friday in the year 1,300. • He wants to goback, but he is blocked by three beasts: a leopard, a lion, and a she-wolf. • All are highly symbolic, but the experts disagree on what they mean.
The Dark Wood-Virgil • The ghost of Virgil appears. He has been sent by Beatrice to guide Dante through Hell. • Beatrice waits in heaven.
The Gates of Hell and Circle One-Limbo • The inscription on the gate of Hell reads “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here”. • The two poets enter the outlying region of Hell, the Ante-Inferno, where the souls who in life could not commit to either good or evil. • They now must run in a futile chase after a blank banner, day after day, while hornets bite them and worms lap their blood.
The Border of Hell • The ferryman, Charon, then takes Dante and Virgil across the river Acheron, the real border of Hell.
Circle OneLimbo • Circle One is Limbo-there is no suffering, but there is no hope of entering Heaven. • Limbo contains virtuous pagans, including Virgil and many of the other great writers and poets of antiquity.
Circle OneLimbo • This circle also contains the un-baptized and other non-sinners that have not had the benefit of salvation. • Virgil resides here, as does Homer, Ovid, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle and Julius Caesar.
Circle TwoLust • The Second Circle contains the Lusters. • Minos is here. His job is to assign condemned souls to their circles based on their sin. • He curls his tail around the sinner a certain number of times, indicating the number of the circle to which the soul must go.
Circle TwoLust • We also see famous lovers such as Helen of Troy, Achilles, Paris (all from The Iliad) Cleopatra, Lancelot, Guinevere, and others. • Inside this circle, Dante watches as the souls of the Lustful swirl about in a terrible storm. (they gave up reason to be caught up in their passions, now they are caught up in a storm)
Circle ThreeThe Gluttons • The Third Circle of Hell, houses the Gluttonous. • They must lie in mud and endure a rain of filth and excrement (this means poop). • They did nothing but produce filth, now they are lying in it. • There is also freezing rain and the jaws of Cerberus who frequently rips them apart.
Circle ThreeGluttony • Gluttony is the sin of overindulging, usually associated with food. • Cerberus resides here to guard and punish the sinners. He is the three- headed dog from the underworld of Hades in Greek mythology. • Also here is Ciacco, a notorious glutton from Dante’s time.
Circle FourAvarice and Prodigality • In the Fourth Circle, the Avaricious (hoarders) and the Prodigal (wasters) charge at one another with giant boulders. • This circle is guarded by Plutus, the personification of wealth and possibly a son of Hades and Persephone. • Some sources attribute Plutus as Hades, himself.
Circle FiveWrath and Sullenness • Contains the river Styx, a swampy, fetid cesspool in which the Wrathful spend eternity struggling with one another. • The Sullen lie bound beneath the Styx's waters, choking on the mud.
Circle SixHeresy • The poets now arrive at the walls of the city of Dis, which is a city contained within the larger region of Hell. • Rebellious angels reside here changed from beautiful to hideous.
Circle Six-Heresy • Medusa from mythology resides here. She has snakes instead of hair. The poets look away. • Heretics are placed in tombs made of iron that are burning hot from the flames around them.
Circle SevenViolence • A deep valley leads into the First Ring of the Seventh Circle of Hell, where those who were violent toward others spend eternity in a river of boiling blood. • Here, the poets meet a group of Centaurs, (half man, half horse).
Circle SevenViolence • They encounter the Suicides. They must endure eternity in the form of trees. • Deeper into the Seventh Circle of Hell, are the Blasphemers, Sodomites and Usurers. • The Simoniacs (paying for holy offices) in the Third Pouch hang upside down in baptismal fonts while their feet burn with fire.
Circle EightFraud • The Eighth Circle is also known the “evil pockets” . • In the First Pouch, the Panderers and the Seducers receive lashings from whips. • In the second, the Flatterers must lie in a river of human feces.
Circle Eight-Fraud • In the Fourth Pouch are the Astrologists or Diviners, forced to walk with their heads on backward. • In the Fifth Pouch, the Barrators (those who accepted bribes) steep in pitch while demons tear them apart.
Circle EightFraud • The Hypocrites in the Sixth Pouch must forever walk in circles, wearing heavy robes made of lead. • The Thieves sit trapped in a pit of vipers, becoming vipers themselves when bitten; to regain their form, they must bite another thief in turn.
Circle EightFraud • In the Eighth Pouch of the Eighth Circle of Hell, Dante speaks to Ulysses (Odysseus) • He is housed among those guilty of Spiritual Theft for his role in executing the ruse of the TrojanHorse.
Circle EightFraud • In the Ninth Pouch, the souls of Sowers of Scandal and Schism (disruption) walk in a circle, constantly afflicted by wounds that open and close repeatedly. • In the Tenth Pouch, the Falsifiers suffer from horrible plagues and diseases.
Circle NineTreachery • The poets proceed to the Ninth Circle of Hell through the Giants' Well, which leads to a massive drop to Cocytus, a great frozenlake. • The giantAntaeus picks Virgil and Dante up and sets them down at the bottom of the well, in the lowest region of Hell.
Circle NineTreachery • Caina is the First Ring of the Ninth Circle of Hell, and contains those who betrayed their family. They stand frozen up to their necks in the lake's ice. • In Antenora, the Second Ring, those who betrayed their country and party stand frozen up to their heads; here Dante meets Count Ugolino, who spends eternity gnawing on the head of the man who imprisoned him in life.
Circle Nine-Treachery • In Ptolomea, the Third Ring, those who betrayed their guests spend eternity lying on their backs in the frozen lake, their tears making blocks of ice over their eyes. • Judecca is the Fourth Ring of the Ninth Circle of Hell and the lowest depth. • Here, those who betrayed their benefactors spend eternity in complete icy submersion.
Circle NineTreachery • The poets go further and encounter a huge, mist-shrouded form. • It is the three-headed giant Lucifer, plunged waist-deep into the ice. • His body pierces the center of the Earth, where he fell when God hurled him down from Heaven.
Circle Nine-Treachery • Each of Lucifer's mouths chews one of history's three greatest sinners: Judas, the betrayer of Christ, and Cassius and Brutus, the betrayers of Julius Caesar. • Virgil leads Dante on a climb down Lucifer's massive form, holding on to his frozen tufts of hair. Eventually, the poets reach the Lethe, the river of forgetfulness, and travel from there out of Hell and back onto Earth.
Circle NineTreachery • They emerge on Easter morning, just before sunrise. • Whew!