JOSEF NYGRIN. PDF PREPARATION AND TYPESETTING 3Bunyan, in his Pilgrim's Progress, which is a kind of Divine Comedy in prose, says: “I beheld then. Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy – Inferno (MB) · Dante .. enjoyed very much your pdf of the divine comedy altough not the best reason. The Divine Comedy. Inferno. Dante Alighieri. Translated by J.G. Nichols. With illustrations by. Gustave Doré. ALMA CLASSICS.
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Divine Comedy: Inferno By James Roberts and Nikki Moustaki IN THIS BOOK □ Includes summaries and commentaries for all 34 cantos □ Provides insight into. Dante – Divine Comedy (Inferno). 5. Translated by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Volume 1. This is all of Longfellow's Dante translation of. lated when the Inferno was first " sent forth, complete in itself, by way of experiment;"" and the experiment has been successful in the best sense. All strangers as.
Commingled are they with that worthless choir of Angels who did not rebel, nor yet were true to God, but sided with themselves.
The heavens, in order not to be less fair, expelled them; nor doth nether Hell receive them, because the bad would get some glory thence. Edition: current; Page: [] The world allows no fame of them to live; Mercy and Justice hold them in contempt.
Let us not talk of them; but look, and pass! I understood immediately, and was assured that this the band of cowards was, who both to God displeasing are, and to His enemies. These wretched souls, who never were alive, were naked, and were sorely spurred to action by means of wasps and hornets that were there.
The latter streaked their faces with their blood, which, after it had mingled with their tears, was at their feet sucked up by loathsome worms. Give up all hope of ever seeing Heaven! I come to take you to the other shore, into eternal darkness, heat and cold. And thou that yonder art, a living soul, withdraw thee from those fellows that are dead.
Those spirits, though, who nude and weary were, their color changed, and gnashed their teeth together, as soon as they had heard the cruel words. Edition: current; Page: [] They kept blaspheming God, and their own parents, the human species, and the place, and time, and seed of their conception and their birth.
Charon, the demon, with his ember eyes makes beckoning signs to them, collects them all, and with his oar beats whoso takes his ease. Even as in autumn leaves detach themselves, now one and now another, till their branch sees all its stripped off clothing on the ground; so, one by one, the evil seed of Adam cast themselves down that river-bank at signals, as doth a bird to its recalling lure.
A good soul never goes across from hence; if Charon, therefore, findeth fault with thee, well canst thou now know what his words imply. Edition: current; Page: [] The First Circle.
The Borderland Unbaptized Worthies. Illustrious Pagans A heavy thunder-clap broke the deep sleep within my head, so that I roused myself, as would a person who is waked by force; and standing up erect, my rested eyes I moved around, and with a steady gaze I looked about to know where I might be. Edition: current; Page: [] Since our long journey drives us, let us go!
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Nor far this side of where I fell asleep had we yet gone, when I beheld a fire, which overcame a hemisphere of gloom. Somewhat away from it we were as yet, but not so far, but I could dimly see that honorable people held that place.
Homer he is, the sovreign poet; Horace, the satirist, the one that cometh next; the third is Ovid, Lucan is the last. Since each of them in common shares with me the title which the voice of one proclaimed, they do me honor, and therein do well.
Then, having talked among themselves awhile, they turned around to me with signs of greeting; and, when he noticed this, my Teacher smiled. And even greater honor still they did me, for one of their own company they made me, so that amid such wisdom I was sixth.
Edition: current; Page: [] Thus on we went as far as to the light, talking of things whereof is silence here becoming, even as speech was, where we spoke. This last we crossed as if dry land it were; through seven gates with these sages I went in, and to a meadow of fresh grass we came. There people were with slow and serious eyes, and, in their looks, of great authority; they spoke but seldom and with gentle voice.
Inferno Canto X Epicurus and his followers Now my Master goes, and I, behind him, by a secret path between the city walls and the torments.
Can those people, who lie in the sepulchres, be seen? The lids are all raised, and no one keeps guard.
In this place Epicurus and all his followers are entombed, who say the soul dies with the body. Therefore, you will soon be satisfied, with an answer to the question that you ask me, and also the longing that you hide from me, here, inside.
Your speech shows clearly you are a native of that noble city that I perhaps troubled too much. Is he not still alive? Does the sweet light not strike his eyes? And, as you wish to return to the sweet world, tell me why that people is so fierce towards my kin, in all its lawmaking? It seems, if I hear right, that you see beforehand what time brings, but have a different knowledge of the present. But when they approach, or come to be, our intelligence is wholly void, and we know nothing of your human state, except what others tell us.
So you may understand that all our knowledge of the future will end, from the moment when the Day of Judgement closes the gate of futurity. And if I was silent before in reply, let him know it was because my thoughts were already entangled in that error you have resolved for me. They are all filled with accursed spirits: but so that the sight of them may be enough to inform you, in future, listen how and why they are constrained. The outcome of all maliciousness, that Heaven hates, is harm: and every such outcome, hurts others, either by force or deceit.
But because deceit is a vice peculiar to human beings, it displeases God more, and therefore the fraudulent are placed below, and more pain grieves them. The whole of the seventh circle is for the violent, but, since violence can be done to three persons, it is constructed and divided in three rings. Therefore the first ring torments all homicides; every one who lashes out maliciously; and thieves and robbers; in their diverse groups. A man may do violence to himself and to his property, and so, in the second ring, all must repent, in vain, who deprive themselves of your world; or gamble away and dissipate their wealth; or weep there, when they should be happy.
Violence may be done, against the Deity, denying him and blaspheming in the heart, and scorning Nature and her gifts, and so the smallest ring stamps with its seal both Sodom and Cahors , and those who speak scornfully of God, in their hearts. Human beings may practise deceit, which gnaws at every conscience, on one who trusts them, or on one who places no trust.
This latter form of fraud only severs the bond of love that Nature created, and so, in the eighth circle, are nested hypocrisy; sorcery; flattery; cheating; theft and selling of holy orders; pimps; corrupters of public office; and similar filth.
In the previous form, that love that Nature creates is forgotten, and also that which is added later, giving rise to special trust. So, in the ninth, the smallest circle, at the base of the universe, where Dis has his throne, every traitor is consumed eternally. And if not why they are in such a state?
Do you not remember the words with which your Aristotelian Ethics speaks of the three natures that Heaven does not will: incontinence, malice and mad brutishness, and how incontinence offends God less and incurs less blame? If you consider this doctrine correctly, and recall to mind who those are, that suffer punishment out there, above, you will see, easily, why they are separated from these destructive spirits, and why divine justice strikes them with less anger.
By these two, art and nature, man must earn his bread and flourish, if you recall to mind Genesis, near its beginning. Because the usurer holds to another course, he denies Nature, in herself, and in that which follows her ways, putting his hopes elsewhere. When he saw us he gnawed himself, like someone consumed by anger inside. Leave here, monstrous creature.
This man does not come here, aided by your sister, Ariadne , but passes through to see the punishments. I would have you know that the previous time I came down here to the deep Inferno, this spill had not yet fallen. But, if I discern the truth, the deep and loathsome valley, shook, not long before He came to take the great ones of the highest circle, so that I thought the universe thrilled with love, by which as some believe , the world has often been overwhelmed by chaos.
In that moment ancient rocks, here and elsewhere, tumbled. But fix your gaze on the valley, because we near the river of blood, in which those who injure others by violence are boiled. I saw a wide canal bent in an arc, looking as if it surrounded the whole plain, from what my guide had told me.
Centaurs were racing, one behind another, between it and the foot of the bank, armed with weapons, as they were accustomed to hunt on earth. Seeing us descend they all stood still, and three, elected leaders, came from the group, armed with bows and spears.
Speak from there, if not, I draw the bow. Sadly, your nature was always rash. He, in the centre, whose head is bowed to his chest, is the great Chiron, who nursed Achilles : the other is Pholus , who was so full of rage.
They race around the ditch, in thousands, piercing with arrows any spirit that climbs further from the blood than its guilt has condemned it to. We drew near the swift creatures.
Chiron took an arrow, and pushed back his beard from his face with the notched flight. The number of lines in each verse of each canto. The number of divisions of Hell. A multiple of three; the number of circles in Hell.
The perfect number is the nine circles of Hell plus the vestibule. A multiple of three; the number of cantos in each part. The total number of cantos plus Canto I, The Introduction. A multiple of ten; considered by Dante to be the perfect number. A Brief Synopsis At the age of thirty-five, on the night of Good Friday in the year , Dante finds himself lost in a dark wood and full of fear.
He sees a sun-drenched mountain in the distance, and he tries to climb it, but three beasts, a leopard, a lion, and a she-wolf, stand in his way. Dante is forced to return to the forest where he meets the spirit of Virgil, who promises to lead him on a journey through Hell so that he may be able to enter Paradise. Dante agrees to the journey and follows Virgil though the gates of Hell.
The two poets enter the vestibule of Hell where the souls of the uncommitted are tormented by biting insects and damned to chase a blank banner around for eternity. The poets reach the banks of the river Acheron where souls await passage into Hell proper. The ferryman, Charon, reluctantly agrees to take the poets across the river to Limbo, the first circle of Hell, where Virgil permanently resides. In Limbo, the poets stop to speak with other great poets, Homer, Ovid, Horace, and Lucan, and then enter a great citadel where philosophers reside.
Dante and Virgil enter Hell proper, the second circle, where the sinners of Incontinence begin. Here, the monster, Minos, sits in judgment of all of the damned, and sends them to the proper circle according to Introduction to the Poem 9 their sin. Here, Dante meets Paolo and Francesca, the two unfaithful lovers buffeted about in a windy storm. The poets move on to the third circle, the Gluttons, who are guarded by the monster Cerberus. These sinners spend eternity wallowing in mud and mire, and here Dante recognizes a Florentine, Ciacco, who gives Dante the first of many negative prophesies about him and Florence.
Upon entering the fourth circle, Dante and Virgil encounter the Hoarders and the Wasters, who spend eternity rolling giant boulders at one another.
They move to the fifth circle, the marsh comprising the river Styx, where Dante is accosted by a Florentine, Filippo Argenti, one amongst the Wrathful that fight and battle one another for eternity in the mire of the Styx.
Dante wishes Argenti torn to bits and gets his wish. The city of Dis begins Circle VI, the realm of the violent. The poets enter and find themselves in Circle VI, realm of the Heretics, who reside among the thousands in burning tombs. The poets then begin descending through a deep valley. Here, they meet the Minotaur and see a river of boiling blood, the Phlegethon, where those violent against their neighbors, tyrants, and war-makers reside, each in a depth according to their sin.
Virgil arranges for the Centaur, Nessus, to take them across the river into the second round of circle seven, the Suicides. Here Dante speaks with the soul of Pier delle Vigne and learns his sad tale. In the third round of Circle VII, a desert wasteland awash in a rain of burning snowflakes, Dante recognizes and speaks with Capaneus, a famous blasphemer. He also speaks to his beloved advisor and scholar, Brunetto Latini. This is the round held for the Blasphemers, Sodomites, and the Usurers.
The first chasm houses the Panderers and the Seducers who spend eternity lashed by whips. The second chasm houses the Flatterers, who reside in a channel of excrement. Inferno soles of their feet on fire. Dante speaks with Pope Nicholas, who mistakes him for Pope Boniface.
In the fourth chasm, Dante sees the Fortune Tellers and Diviners, who spend eternity with their heads on backwards and their eyes clouded by tears. At the fifth chasm, the poets see the sinners of Graft plunged deeply into a river of boiling pitch and slashed at by demons.
At the sixth chasm, the poets encounter the Hypocrites, mainly religious men damned to walk endlessly in a circle wearing glittering leaden robes. The chief sinner here, Caiaphas, is crucified on the ground, and all of the other sinners must step on him to pass. Two Jovial friars tell the poets the way to the seventh chasm, where the Thieves have their hands cut off and spend eternity among vipers that transform them into serpents by biting them. They, in turn, must bite another sinner to take back a human form.
At the eighth chasm Dante sees many flames that conceal the souls of the Evil Counselors. Dante speaks to Ulysses, who gives him an account of his death.
At the ninth chasm, the poets see a mass of horribly mutilated bodies. They were the sowers of discord, such as Mahomet. They are walking in a circle. By the time they come around the circle, their wounds knit, only to be opened again and again. They arrive at the tenth chasm the Falsifiers. Here they see the sinners afflicted with terrible plagues, some unable to move, some picking scabs off of one another. They arrive at the Circle IX.
It is comprised of a giant frozen lake, Cocytus, in which the sinners are stuck. As they approach the well of circle nine, Dante believes that he sees towers in the distance, which turn out to be the Giants. One of the Giants, Antaeus, takes the poets on his palm and gently places them at the bottom of the well. Circle IX is composed of four rounds, each housing sinners, according to the severity of their sin. In the first round, Caina, the sinners are frozen up to their necks in ice.
In the second round, Antenora, the sinners are frozen closer to their heads. Here, Dante accidentally kicks a traitor in the head, and when the traitor will not tell him his name, Dante treats him savagely. Introduction to the Poem 11 In the third round, Ptolomea, where the Traitors to Guests reside, Dante speaks with a soul who begs him to take the ice visors, formed from tears, out of his eyes.
Dante promises to do so, but after hearing his story refuses. The fourth round of Circle IX, and the very final pit of Hell, Judecca, houses the Traitors to Their Masters, who are completely covered and fixed in the ice, and Satan, who is fixed waist deep in the ice and has three heads, each of which is chewing a traitor: Judas, Brutus, and Cassius.
They enter the upper world just before dawn on Easter Sunday, and they see the stars overhead. List of Characters Dante A thirty-five-year-old man, spiritually lost and wandering away from the True Way—the path of righteousness and of God. Dante has become weak and is in need of spiritual guidance.
Luckily, a guide is sent to him and he embarks on a spiritual journey to learn the true nature of sin. He is said to represent human reason and wisdom. Virgil is a strong and competent guide but needs Divine intervention from time to time to complete the journey safely. The number following each name refers to the canto in which the character first appears. Achilles 12 One of the heroes of the Trojan War. Antaeus 31 Giant slain by Hercules. Attila 12 Chief of the Huns.
She entreats Virgil to save Dante. Bocca 32 Traitor of Florence. On one occasion he betrayed the Guelphs and caused their defeat. Brunetto Latini 15 Distinguished scholar, beloved friend, and advisor to Dante. Brutus 34 One of the conspirators in the murder of Caesar.
Caiaphas 23 The high priest who influenced the Hebrew Council to crucify Jesus. Capaneus 14 One of the seven against Thebes.
Defied Zeus and was killed by him. Cassius 34 One of the conspirators who killed Julius Caesar. Guido His son.
The father inquires about him in Hell. Cerberus 6 The three headed hound: Charon 3 The Ferryman of the river Acheron in Hell. Ciacco 5 A notorious glutton: Dido 5 Queen of Carthage. Introduction to the Poem 13 Diomede 26 Companion of Ulysses in his last voyage. Donati family 28 A politically powerful family who caused the split in the political parties.
Francesca da Rimini 5 Lover of Paolo whose brother slew them in the act of adultery. Geri del Bello 29 Cousin to Dante whose murder was not avenged. Geryon 17 A monster who represents fraud. Gianni Schicchi 3 Aided a member of the Donati family in falsifying a will. Harpies 13 In mythology, birds with the faces of women.
Jason 28 Leader of the Argonauts in their quest for the Golden Fleece. Judas Iscariot 34 One of the twelve disciples. He betrayed Jesus. Mahomet 28 Founder of the Islamic religion. Malabranche 21 Demons who punish the barrators. Inferno Medusa 9 One of the Gorgons. The sight of her head filled with snakes turned men to stone. Nessus 12 One of the Centaurs, killed by Hercules.
Phlegyas 8 Ferryman of the river Styx in Hell. Plutus 7 God of riches. Ruggieri, Archbishop 10 Traitor who starved Ugolino and his sons. Sinon the Greek 30 Accused of treachery during Trojan War. Ugolino, Count 33 Imprisoned with his sons and starved to death. Vanni Fucci 24 A thief who shocks Dante with his obscenity. Vigne, Pier delle 13 He was unjustly imprisoned for graft and committed suicide.
Bolgia 1. Panderers, Seducers 2. Flatterers 3. Simoniacs 4.
Fortune tellers 5. Grafters Barrators 6. Hypocrites 7. Thieves 8. Evil Counselors 9. Sowers of Discord Inferno Canto I Summary In the middle of the journey of his life, Dante finds himself lost in a dark wood, and he cannot find the straight path. He cannot remember how he wandered away from his true path that he should be following, but he is in a fearful place, impenetrable and wild.
He looks up from this dismal valley and sees the sun shining on the hilltop. After resting for a moment, he begins to climb the hill towards the light, but he is suddenly confronted by a leopard, which blocks his way and he turns to evade it. Just as Dante begins to feel hopeless in his plight, a figure approaches him. It has difficulty speaking, as though it had not spoken for a long time.
At first Dante is afraid, but then implores it for help, whether it be man or spirit. It answered: Virgil commands Dante to follow him and see the horrible sights of the damned in Hell, the hope of those doing penance in Purgatory, and, if he so desires, the realm of the blessed in Paradise. Another guide will take him to this last realm, which Dante cannot or may not enter. Dante readily agrees, and the two poets begin their long journey.
Critical Commentaries: It begins when Dante is halfway through his life—35 years old, half of the biblical three score and ten—and he has lost his way. When Dante speaks of having strayed from the right path, the reader should not assume that Dante has committed any specific sin or crime.
Throughout the poem, Dante is advocating a strict adherence to medieval Catholic theology: Man must consciously strive for righteousness and morality. In its simplest terms, Man can often become so involved with the day-to-day affairs of simply living that he will gradually relapse into a sort of lethargy in which he strays from the very strict paths of morality.
For Dante, Man must always be aware intellectually of his own need to perform the righteous act. Therefore, Sin is a perversion of the intellect. Throughout the poem, the classical poet Virgil stands for human reason and human virtue, two admirable characteristics in themselves, but alone they are not enough to gain salvation. Through his poetry, his high ethics and morals, and the mere fact that he, in his Aeneid, had already made a journey through Hell in the person of Aeneas, Virgil is the perfect guide for Dante.
Likewise, he has not spoken to a mortal since his death, and thus is unaccustomed to talking. And it is a common belief that a spirit cannot speak to a human until that human first speaks to the spirit—a custom used by Hamlet in approaching the ghost of his father. Glossary True Way the way of God. Lombard a native or inhabitant of Lombardy. Mantuan from Mantua. King of Time Christ. But Dante wonders if he is truly worthy to make the journey: He recalls that Aeneas, and also St. Paul, made the journey, and he feels unworthy to be included in this noble group: Virgil says that Beatrice wept as she pleaded, and Virgil eagerly obeyed her instructions and rescued Dante, so they are ready to begin their journey.
Lucia, and Beatrice—all care for him. Dante is reassured and tells Virgil to lead on and he will follow. Commentary As noted in the last commentary, this is the introduction to the Inferno. In later parts, the Purgatorio and the Paradiso, Dante will invoke Christian deities to help him, but here he does not invoke them concerning Hell. Instead, he turns to the classical Muses, to Genius, and to Memory. In his short invocation, he mentions two others who have gone before him, Aeneas and St.
Paul, and the reference is to his vision of Hell, as recorded in a widely circulated work of the Middle Ages the fourth-century apocryphal book known as The Apocalypse of Paul, which Dante had evidently read , and the empire is represented by Aeneas who descended into Hell to consult his father Anchises to learn about the future greatness of the Roman people and the foundation of the Roman Empire. This preoccupation with the papacy and the empire will continue throughout the entire Inferno.
Inferno Note that the name of the Virgin Mary is by allusions—that is, her name is never mentioned directly. Neither will the name of Jesus ever be mentioned in this unholy place—only by allusion. And while Beatrice is mentioned in Line , she is never mentioned by name again.
Glossary Muses the nine goddesses who preside over literature and the arts and sciences. Apostolate Aeneas the office, duties, or peroid of activity of an apostle. Paul St. Paul; original name Saul died c. Limbo in some Christian theologies, the eternal abode or state, neither Heaven nor Hell, of the souls of infants or others dying in original sin but free of grievous personal sin; or, before the coming of Christ.
Seraphim any of the highest order of angels, above the cherubim. Lady in Heaven Virgin Mary. Lucia St.
Dante. The Divine Comedy. Inferno Canto 1
Lucia, messenger of the Virgin Mary, patron saint of eyesight; here, represents Divine Light. Rachel an Old Testament figure; here, she is said to represent Contemplative Life. Dante does not fully understand the meaning of the inscription and asks Virgil to explain it to him.
Virgil says that Dante must try to summon his courage and tells him that this is the place that Virgil told him previously to expect: The poets enter the gate and the initial sights and sounds of Hell at once assail Dante; he is moved deeply and horrified by the sight of spirits in deep pain. The unending cries make Dante ask where they come from, and Virgil replies that these are the souls of the uncommitted, who lived for themselves, and of the angels who were not rebellious against God nor faithful to Satan.
Neither Heaven nor Hell would have them, and so they must remain here with the selfish, forever running behind a banner and eternally stung by hornets and wasps. Worms at their feet eat the blood and tears of these beings.
Dante wants to learn more about these souls, but Virgil moves him along to the beach of Acheron where the ferryman, Charon, tells Dante to leave because Dante is still living and does not belong there. Charon tells Dante to take a lighter craft from another shore. Virgil reprimands Charon, saying that it is willed, and what is willed must happen. Charon speaks no more, but by signs, and pushing, he herds the other spirits into the boat. The boatman strikes with his oars any soul that hesitates.
The boat crosses, but before it lands, the opposite shore is again crowded with condemned souls. As Virgil finishes his explanation, a sudden earthquake, accompanied by wind and flashing fire from the ground, terrifies Dante to such a degree that he faints. Inferno Commentary While the inscription is over the gates of Hell, they first enter the vestibule, that place reserved for those who did not use their intellect to choose God.
The inscription over the gate of Hell has a powerful impact: The inscription above the gates of Hell implies the horror of total despair. It suggests that anyone may enter into Hell at any time, and then all hope is lost. Dante cries out that this sentence is difficult for him to bear. However, this condemnation does not apply to Dante, because, allegorically, he can still achieve salvation, and realistically, he is not yet dead so it does not necessarily apply to him.
Dante, in this early canto, is moved to tears and terror at his first sight of Hell. He continues to be moved until he learns, later, to be unsympathetic towards sin in any form. This is part of his learning process and his character development throughout the poem. Dante learns that sin is not to be pitied; however, this lesson takes him many circles of Hell to learn.
Hell is the place for those who deliberately, intellectually, and consciously chose an evil way of life, whereas Paradise is a place of reward for those who consciously chose a righteous way of life.
Therefore, if Hell is the place for people who made deliberate and intentional wrong choices, there must be a place for those people who refused to choose either evil or good. The entrance of Hell is the proper place for those people who refused to make a choice. This explanation is the first example of the law of retribution, as applied by Dante, where the uncommitted race endlessly after a wavering and blank banner.
Because they were unwilling to shed their blood for any worthy cause in life, their blood is shed unwillingly, falling to the ground as food for worms. Canto III 25 Among the sinners are the fallen angels who refused to commit themselves to either God or Lucifer and stayed neutral. However, a refusal to choose is a choice, an idea Dante uses that has since become central in existentialist philosophy.
Celestine preferred to return to the obscurity of non-commitment, rather than face the problems of the papacy. When Charon refuses to take Dante across the river, he does so because his job is to take only the dead who have no chance of salvation.
Dante, however, is both a living man and one who still has the possibility of achieving salvation. In later cantos, Dante uses other periphrases of various kinds. The shore of the river Acheron that serves as the outer border of Hell is crowded with more souls than Dante believed possible.
These souls are propelled not by the anger of Charon alone, but by the sharp prod of Divine Justice, until they desire to make the crossing. Choosing to cross the river is their final choice, just as their desire for sin on Earth was also their choice. Glossary Acheron the River of Sorrow. Charon the boatman who ferries souls of the dead across the river Styx to Hades; in Inferno, he ferries on the Acheron. He has been in a deep sleep for some time, so his eyes are rested.
Virgil explains that his pallor is due to pity, not fear. The poets enter the first circle of Hell—Limbo—the place where virtuous pagans reside. Virgil explains that these shades souls are only here because they were born without the benefit of Christianity, either due to being born before Christ, or because the soul was an unbaptized child.
The two poets have been walking during this conversation, and they pass by the wood of Limbo. Dante sees a fire ahead and realizes that figures of honor rest near it. He asks Virgil why these souls are honored by separation from the other spirits, and Virgil replies that their fame on Earth gained them this place. Virgil tells Dante their names and then turns away to talk with them.
After a time, the group salutes Dante, saying they regard him as one of their number. The entire group moves ahead, talking about subjects that Dante does not disclose, and they come to a castle with seven walls surrounded by a small stream.
Dante and Virgil then pass over the stream, go through the seven gates, and reach a green meadow. Dante recognizes the figures of authority dwelling there, and as the poets stand on a small hill, Dante gives the names of rulers, philosophers, and others who are there and regrets that he does not have time to name them all. Dante and Virgil leave this quiet place and come to one where there is no light.
Canto IV 27 Commentary Between Hell proper, the place of punishment, and the vestibule, Dante places the circle of Limbo, devoted to those people who had no opportunity to choose either good or evil in terms of having faith in Christ. This circle is occupied by the virtuous pagans, those who lived before Christ was born, and by the unbaptized. Many of the shades in Limbo are not really sinners, but people who were born before Christianity. These virtuous pagans live forever in a place of their creation.
Therefore, the Hell that they reside in allows them to reside in human wisdom, but without the light of God. Most of the first circle is in darkness, though Dante allows reason to create a small light of its own. Socrates, for example, wrote that he envisioned the afterlife as a place where one would have discussions with great people that came before or that lived in the present.
Therefore, Socrates gained his ideal eternity. Thus, Socrates is in Limbo, discussing philosophy and ethics with the other great souls that are there. In other words, Socrates attained the kind of afterlife that he, as a wise man, envisioned as the perfect one.
His afterlife is not punishment; it is the failure of the imagination to envision the coming of Christ and faith in the coming of the Messiah. Likewise, if an individual has faith in Christ, they must be openly baptized and in a state of grace to avoid Limbo.
Aside from this one instance, there is no choice or escape from Limbo. Christ, according to Dante, is the only redeemer, and without him, these shades are in Limbo for eternity. There are also moments of extreme self-awareness in Inferno, moments where Dante the Poet intrudes on his narrative. Dante feels exalted at meeting his forefathers in thought and poetry: Homer, Horace, Lucan, and Ovid. Clearly, Dante sees himself as one of them, and they invite him into their circle.
Dante clearly believes that good works, morality, and virtue count for something, but not enough to allow a soul into Heaven. Glossary Mighty One Christ. This is the actual beginning of Hell where the sinners are punished for their sins. Dante witnesses Minos, a great beast, examining each soul as it stands for judgment.
Minos hears the souls confess their sins, and then wraps his tail around himself to determine the number of the circle where the sinner belongs. Minos tells Dante to beware of where he goes and to whom he turns.
Minos cautions Dante against entering, but Virgil silences him, first by asking him why he too questions Dante as Charon did , and then by telling him, in the same words he used to tell Charon, that it was willed, and what is willed must occur.
Dante beholds a place completely dark, in which there is noise worse than that of a storm at sea.
Lamenting, moaning, and shrieking, the spirits are whirled and swept by an unceasing storm. Dante learns that these are the spirits doomed by carnal lust.
He asks the names of some that are blown past, and Virgil answers with their names and some knowledge of their stories.
Dante then asks particularly to speak to two sinners who are together, and Virgil tells him to call them to him in the name of love. They come, and one thanks Dante for his pity and wishes him peace, and she then tells their story.
She reveals first that a lower circle of Hell waits for the man who murdered them. Calling Francesca by name, he asks her to explain how she and her lover were lured into sin. Francesca replies that a book of the romance of Lancelot and Guinevere caused their downfall. They were alone, reading it aloud, and so many parts of the book seemed to tell of their own love. They kissed, and the book was forgotten. Inferno Commentary This second circle is the true beginning of Hell and is also where the true punishments of Hell begin, and Minos, the mythological king of Crete, sits in judgment of the damned souls.
Circle II is the circle of carnal lust. The sinners are tossed and whirled by the winds, as in life they felt themselves—helpless in the tempests of passion.
This canto also begins descriptions of the circles devoted to the sins of incontinence: Minos, like the other guardians of Hell, does not want to admit Dante, a living being still capable of redemption, but Virgil forces him to do so.
Some of these women, besides being adulteresses, have also committed suicide. Therefore, the question immediately arises as to why they are not deeper down in Hell in the circle reserved for suicides.
Therefore, the spirit is judged by the ethics by which he or she lived and is condemned for adultery, not suicide. Francesca tells their story; Paolo can only weep. Francesca da Rimini was the wife of Gianciotto, the deformed older brother of Paolo, who was a beautiful youth. Theirs was a marriage of alliance, and it continued for some ten years before Paolo and Francesca were caught in the compromising situation described in the poem.
Gianciotto promptly murdered them both, for which he is confined in the lowest circle of Hell. For modern readers, understanding why Dante considered adultery, or lustfulness, to be the least hateful of the sins of incontinence is sometimes difficult. As the intellectual basis of Hell, Dante thought of Hell as a place where the sinner deliberately chose his or her sin and failed to repent.
This is particularly true of the lower circles, which include malice and fraud. In the example of Francesca and Paolo, however, Francesca did not deliberately choose adultery; hers was a gentle lapsing into love for Paolo, a matter of incontinence, and a weakness of will. Only the fact that her husband killed her in the moment of adultery allowed her no opportunity to repent, and for this reason, she is condemned to Hell.
Canto V 31 She is passionate, certainly capable of sin, and certainly guilty of sin, but she represents the woman whose only concern is for the man she loves, not her immortal soul. Her love was her heaven; it is now her hell. In Hell, sinners retain all those qualities for which they were damned, and they remain the same throughout eternity; that is, the soul is depicted in Hell with the exact characteristics that condemned it to Hell in the first place.
Consequently, as Francesca loved Paolo in the human world, throughout eternity she will love him in Hell. But, the lovers are damned because they will not change, and because they will never cease to love, they can never be redeemed.
Dante represents this fact metaphorically by placing Paolo close to Francesca and by having the two of them being buffeted about together through this circle of Hell for eternity. By reading the story of Francesca, one can perhaps understand better the intellectual basis by which Dante depicts the other sins in Hell. He chooses a character that represents a sin; he then expresses poetically the person who committed the sin.
The sin in Circle II is a sin of incontinence, weakness of will, and falling from grace through inaction of conscience. Many times in Hell, Dante responds sympathetically or with pity to some of these lost souls. This canto clearly illustrates the difference in the two personae: Dante the Pilgrim and Dante the Poet. Dante the Pilgrim weeps and suffers with those who are suffering their punishments. Yet it is Dante the Poet who put her in Hell.
Glossary bestial like a beast in qualities or behavior; brutish or savage; brutal, coarse, vile, and so on. Minos Greek Mythology. In mythology, Minos is a compassionate judge.
Inferno to such violent passions. Dante ignores this and makes Minos into a stern and horribly bestial judge. Semiramis Babalonian Legend. Ninus husband of Semiramis. Dido Roman Mythology. Sichaeus husband of Dido. Cleopatra c. Helen Greek Legend. Achilles Greek Mythology. Paris Greek Legend.
Tristan Arthurian Legend. Isolde and Tristan fall in love and tragically die together. Po river in northern Italy, flowing from the Cottian Alps east into the Adriatic. Caina the first ring of the last circle in Hell, according to Dante. Lancelot Arthurian Legend. A stinking slush falls from the sky and collects on the ground where naked shades howl and roll in the mire.
Cerberus, the three-headed monster, stands over those sunk deep in the slush. He barks furiously and claws and bites all within reach. These spirits howl in the rain and attempt to evade the monster.
Seeing the two travelers, Cerberus turns on them and is silenced only when Virgil throws handfuls of the reeking dirt and slime into his three mouths. The poets make their way across the swamp, walking occasionally on the shades, which seem to have no corporeal bodies.
One Glutton sits up from the mire and addresses Dante. The shade is Ciacco, the Hog, and claims to be from Florence and to know Dante. Dante expresses his sympathy, and then asks Ciacco the fate of Florence and why it is so divided. Ciacco foretells a future war and the defeat and expulsion of one party. He concludes his prophecy, and Dante asks where he can find certain good citizens of Florence.
Ciacco tells him that they are much further down in Hell because they committed crimes far worse than his, and that Dante will see them if he travels deeper into Hell. Ciacco then swoons and falls unconscious into the muck. Virgil tells Dante that Ciacco will remain as he is in the muck until the Last Judgment, and the two poets talk of the future life.
Dante questions Virgil concerning the Last Judgment, and Virgil answers that, although these souls will never reach perfection, they will be nearer to it after the Last Judgment than before, and, therefore, will feel more pain as well as more pleasure. They continued their course along the way still talking and saying much more than Dante will relate and then they came to a place for descending: There they found Plutus.
Inferno Commentary Cerberus guards Circle III, and as in mythology, he requires a concession for each of his three mouths this time the foul mud of the circle suffices before he permits passage. With his constant hunger, Cerberus is a fitting guardian for the circle of Gluttons, who transformed their lives into a continual feast and did nothing but eat and drink, for which they must now lie like pigs in the mire.
Cerberus should be familiar to the readers of Homer and Virgil. In those works Cerberus had to be placated with some delicacy in each of its mouths. In contrast, Virgil fills each mouth with some dirty slime which is more fitting for the guardian of the gluttons. In the intellectual progression down through Hell, Dante moves the readers from the circle of lust, a type of sin that was mutual or shared, to the third circle, which includes sin performed in isolation.
The glutton is a person with an uncontrolled appetite, who deliberately, in his or her own solitary way, converted natural foods into a sort of god, or at least an object of worship.
Instead of sitting in his or her comfortable house relishing all the sensual aspects of good food and good wine and good surroundings, he or she lies in the foul rain.You sir, deserve to be worshiped. For sales inquiries and resellers information, including discounts, premium and bulk quantity sales and foreign language translations please contact our Customer Care department at , fax or write to Hungry Minds, Inc. Semiramis Babalonian Legend. Mongibello Mount Edna, where Vulcan had his forge.
Woodcut for Inferno, canto This marsh, that breathes its foul stench, circles the woeful city round about, where we also cannot enter now without anger. He returns unsuccessful in his task, but assures Dante that a Great One is on his way to open the gate. Great job. If you downloadd this book without a cover, you should be aware that this book is stolen property.