The Divine Comedy
The Divine Comedy is an
Inferno is the most famous section of the poem. The poem is about the travels of a man through
The narrator, Dante Alighieri, is lost in a forest in front of a giant mountain which symbolizes sin, and is harassed by a lion, leopard and she-wolf. He finds the Roman poet
Souls that did not accept Christ are here. This includes atheists, pagans, and the unbaptized. They did not actively sin, but they could not enter Heaven because of their lack of faith and even Hell would not allow them to enter very far.
Beyond the first circle, souls are assigned their place by Minos, who wraps his tail around his legs a corresponding number of times,and forces them to descend to their appropriate circle.
In this circle souls who succumb to lust. They are the first ones to be truly punished in Hell. These souls are blown around in a giant storm which will last forever. This symbolizes the power of lust to blow one about aimlessly.
This circle is guarded by
In life the sinners miserly hoarded their money greedily, while the prodigal spent their money foolishly. Both groups are pushing and pulling great bags of gold as they did in life. The greedy are guarded by Plutus, god of riches and wealth.
In the river
The heretics are trapped in red-hot iron tombs.
This circle holds those who were violent in their lives. The people who were violent to people and property are in a river of fire. The depth of their placement in the river corresponds to how much you damaged in life. For example, Alexander the Great is immersed up to his eyebrows. The violent against self are turned into plants and are pecked at and ripped apart by birds. The violent to God and the violent to nature are also here. They have to walk on flaming sand for eternity.
Pimps, seducers, flatterers, simonists, sorcerers, fortune-tellers, false prophets, corrupt politicians, hypocrites, thieves, schismatics, alchemists, and counterfeiters are in this circle. Each punishment is the opposite of what they did in life. Fortune-tellers, who tried to see things ahead of time, are forced to walk backwards.
The traitors to family are immersed in ice up to their faces. Traitors to political entities are also here. Traitors to guests lie in the ice, which covers them completely except for their faces. Traitors to their lords and benefactors are completely buried in ice in various positions.
In the very center of Hell, because he sinned the ultimate sin (treachery against God), lies
Dante and Virgil escape by climbing down Satan's fur through the center of the earth and out the other