A synopsis of the play by Plautus Almost identical twins were born to a merchant of Syracuse, in Sicily, and were named Menaechmus and Sosicles. Several years later, Menaechmus was stolen and carried off to the city of Epidamnus. The grieving grandfather, in his affection for the lost boy, gave his name to Sosicles. When the twins are grown to manhood, Menaechmus of Syracuse sets out in search of his brother. He arrives in Epidamnus, unaware that his twin brother is there also. Here, the brother is first shown to be, with good cause, the despair of his jealous wife. He is seen leaving his house, berating his spouse as a shrew and a harpy, promising that she shall have good cause for her jealousy. He confides to Whiskbroom, a professional parasite, that he has stolen his wife's mantle and is going to give it to Erotium, a prostitute who lives next door. The two go to Erotium's door, and the husband presents the mantle with many blandishments. He suggests that a fitting return would include a dinner for himself and Whiskbroom. Erotium agrees, and the two men go to the Forum for preliminary drinks while the meal is being prepared. Meanwhile, the twin from Syracuse has arrived with Messenio, his slave. The latter warns him of the depravity of Epidamnus, urging an end to the search for his missing brother since their money is nearly gone. His master gives his purse for safekeeping to the slave who continues his warning against the cunning people of Epidamnus "who think nothing of accosting a stranger" and bilking him of his money, when Erotium steps out of her house and endearingly accosts the Syracuse Menaechmus, thinking him to be his brother. She asks why he hesitates to enter when dinner is ready, and the confused twin asks her, quite formally, what business he has with her. Why, the business of Venus, Erotium replies coyly. Messenio whispers to his master that the lady undoubtedly is a schemer for his money, and asks her if she knows his master. He is Menaechmus, of course, replies Erotium. This amazes the twin, but Messenio explains that spies of the city's thieves probably have learned his name. Erotium, tiring of what she considers foolery, tells Menaechmus to come in to dinner and bring Whiskbroom. Whiskbroom, he answers, is in his baggage--and what dinner is she talking about? The dinner he ordered when he presented his wife's mantle, she replies. He first protests vainly that he hasn't any wife and has just arrived in the city, then begins to realize the possibilities of a dinner and a pretty girl. He sends Messenio to the inn, giving him orders to return for his master at sunset. After the meal, he leaves his house with a garland on his head and the mantle over his arm; Erotium has told him to have it re-trimmed. He is chuckling over his luck--dinner, kisses and an expensive mantle--all for nothing, when the irate Whiskbroom, who has lost the Epidamnus twin in the Forum crowd, meets him and berates him for dining before he could arrive. Quite naturally treated as a stranger, Whiskbroom angrily rushes to tell the other twin's wife of the stolen mantle. The Syracuse brother, further baffled because the unknown Whiskbroom addressed him by his name, is pinching his ear to make sure that he is awake when Erotium's maid comes out and hands him a bracelet to be taken to a goldsmith for repair. He suspects that something is amiss, and hurries off to the inn to tell Messenio of the happy shower of valuables that has been raining upon him. Now the furious wife, told by Whiskbroom of her man's trick, rushes out of her house just in time to meet her husband returning from the Forum, expecting Erotium's banquet. She tells him to return the mantle or stay out of her house, and the husband goes to Erotium to get it, resolving to buy his sweetheart a better one. He is stupefied when she declares him a liar and a cheat, and tells him that she has already given him both the mantle and her bracelet. So the Epidamnus twin finds the doors of both his wife and mistress slammed in his puzzled face, and goes off to get the counsel of his friends.

He adds that he didn't steal her mantle. involving a set of twins. Having recently passed the six hundredth anniversary of its publication. The master is pondering this new muddle when his twin appears from Erotium's house. To a great degree. why she should address a total stranger so. He flies into a rage when his wife and father-in-law add to his troubles by implying that he is quite mad. and Menaechmus goes off to resume his hunt for Messenio. the wife seeks safety in the house. if there be a buyer.The Syracuse Menaechmus returns. Because of this work. then he begins to suspect he may really be a bit crazy when Messenio tells him that he will return shortly to give him the money he has been safeguarding. who calls her father from the house. The husband goes to Erotium's house in further search of the mantle. in search of Messenio. the book is still of interest to modern students for several reasons. Before Chaucer’s time. Messenio appears. For one thing. English was considered low class and vulgar.D. but . which meant that poetry was only understandable to people of the wealthy. His brother's wife sees him. The happy master truly sets the slave free. The Canterbury Tales helped make it a legitimate language to work in. but by all means to consider himself freed. The Menaechmi is a comedy about mistaken identity. everything to go to the block--even the wife. It incorporates various Roman stock characters including the parasite. the year he died. the uncompleted manuscript was published in 1400. He asks her of what he should be ashamed--and. Menaechmi. but explanations quickly bring recognition. owe him a debt of gratitude. His anger convinces the doctor of his insanity. The Canterbury Tales: Introduction Geoffrey Chaucer began writing The Canterbury Tales sometime around 1387 A. This idea seems an excellent means of escape for Menaechmus: he feigns insanity so violently that the father rushes off for a physician. Husband Menaechmus is not too addled. demands that he confess his shame. As with most of Plautus's plays. The two brothers rub their eyes in bewilderment on seeing each other. a Latin-language play. and assuming him to be her husband. much of the dialogue was sung. the real husband returns. Messenio announces an auction in the morning of the husband's goods.. fromShakespeare to Dryden to Keats to Eliot. in his quest of Messenio. who has left the inn. to profess his ownership of the purse. His master upbraids him for having been gone so long. The Syracuse twin returns. overpowers the slave. The title is sometimes translated as The Brothers Menaechmus or The Two Menaechmuses. that a lady gave it to him. the doddering father-in-law and the quack doctor. It is because Chaucer wrote in English that there is a written record of the roots from which the modern language grew. but the slave protests that he has just saved his owner from ruffians and has been set free. The husband tells Messenio that he doesn't know him. As the father comes back with a doctor. This is too much for the wife. Just then. Contemporary readers might find his words nearly as difficult to follow as a foreign language. The father. also assuming that he is the husband. and. and he summons slaves to bind him and take him to an asylum. thinking the struggling husband his master. however. As a reward he asks for his own freedom. all of the great writers who followed. They embrace. the domineering wife. tells him that he must be crazy. furthermore. the mantle still over his arm. The Canterbury Tales is recognized as the first book of poetry written in the English language. is often considered Plautus' greatest play. Menaechmus of Epidamnus and Menaechmus of Syracuse. the comic courtesan. even poets who lived in England wrote in Italian or Latin. the comic servant. educated class. at the moment when the servant hurries back with his purse. and the brothers decide that the first Menaechmus shall go to live with his twin in Syracuse.

who was in prison. only some of the most studied. who was murdered in Canterbury in 1170. to pass the time more quickly. suggests that they should each tell two stories while walking. and some still exist today. they could see a fair maiden. involved tale of love from ancient Greece about two knights. he secured a job in Emily’s court and became one of her servants. After the introductions. Upon returning. It describes each of the pilgrims. The Canterbury Tales Summary The Prologue In the Prologue to The Canterbury Tales Geoffrey Chaucer introduces the speaker of the poem as a man named Chaucer. Students who are not particularly interested in medieval England can appreciate the author’s technique in capturing the variations of human temperament and behavior. This group of people is thrown together when they travel together on a trip to the shrine of Saint Thomas à Becket. from nobles to workers. The two former . Copyright eNotes. he realized that he did not even look like the man he had once been. The Knight’s Tale The first pilgrim to talk. in the window of her chamber every morning. could at least look at her every day. after seven years in prison. the Host. who is traveling from London with a group of strangers to visit Canterbury. When the god Mercury came and told him to return to Athens. while Palamon. the Knight. but the genius of The Canterbury Tales is that the individual stories are presented in a continuing narrative. suffering so much from lovesickness that he became worn and pale. An old friend of Arcite arranged for his release. and they each fell in love with her. who owns the inn that they gather at and who is leading the group. In exile. This entry does not cover all the tales.scholars are thankful for the chance to compare Middle English to the language as it is spoken now. a borough to the southeast of London. showing how all of the various pieces of life connect to one another. combining elements of all classes. He offers the person telling the best story a free supper at the tavern when they return. all he could do was think about Emily. from priests and nuns to drunkards and thieves. Palamon. the book also gives a rich. escaped. In the same way that The Canterbury Tales gives modern readers a sense of the language at the time. agreed with just one condition: that Arcite had to leave Athens forever or be killed if he ever returned. From the tower they were locked in. to examine its growth. For two years Arcite wandered. tells a long. including ones who were meant to be discussed in sections of the book that were never written before Chaucer died. They were captured in a war between Thebes and Athens and thrown into an Athenian prison to spend the rest of their lives there. Meanwhile. intricate tapestry of medieval social life. Emily. Duke Theseus. Collections of stories were common in Chaucer’s time. The Prologue gives a brief description of the setting as they assemble at the Tibard Inn in Southwark to prepare for their trip. Arcite and Palamon. one on the way to Canterbury and one on the way back. and the ruler of Athens. The General Prologue alone provides a panoramic view of society that is not like any found elsewhere in all of literature.

They made use of the fact that the parish clerk. While they were in bed. the sexual organs are made to be used for sex and supports this claim with a quote from the Book of Proverbs. having prepared by hoarding enough food for a long period. ruining his reputation forever. They lived happily ever after: ―Thus endeth Palamon and Emelye. much longer than the tale she eventually tells. and he kissed it in the dark. however. In fact. but no sooner was Arcite declared the winner than his horse reared up and dropped him on his head. Eventually. quoting the Bible as only stating that sexual abstinence is preferred but not required. came out of his basket. and didn’t come down for days. was moved by their love for Emily and convinced them to settle their argument by leading the best soldiers in the land against each other. as long as their spouses are dead. with the winner marrying Emily. and Palamon married Emily. who lived with the carpenter and his young. Once. had a crush on the wife. Theseus stumbled upon them and. Nicholas. To make extra money. The Knight’s Tale goes on for hundreds of lines detailing the historic noble personages who participated in the battle and the preparations they made. the carpenter rented a room to a poor student.‖ The Miller’s Tale The Miller is the next speaker. ―And God save al this faire companye! Amen. beautiful wife. When he climbed the ladder again to object.companions soon ran into each other in the forest and fought. including sacrifices to gods. Alison. Nicholas stayed up in his room. so that both men and Alison would be safe from the rising waters. she explains. While they were fighting. When the carpenter sent a servant to get him. The fit was caused. Absalon came to the window.‖ the Knight’s Tale ends. She defends at length the moral righteousness of people who marry often. When John. thinking Alison was alone. In the battle. The Wife of Bath’s Tale The Wife of Bath’s tale starts with a long Prologue. and would sing songs outside of her window at night. the young lovers told everyone in town that he was insane and had made up the crazy story about the flood. was ready to have them both killed. Absalon. they climbed into their separate tubs. by a startling discovery he had made while studying astrology: that a terrible flood was coming. Nicholas put his own behind out and passed gas in Absalon’s face. He died that night and was given a hero’s funeral. Nicholas explained. who was rich and miserly. but once the carpenter was asleep Alison and Nicholas sneaked down to the bedroom together. His wife. in which she describes to her fellow pilgrims the history of her five previous marriages and her views about relations between men and women. he found Nicholas lying as if he had suffered a seizure. ―Man shal yelde to his wyf hire dette‖ (―Man shall yield to his wife her debt‖). He convinced the carpenter to hang three tubs from the roof. demanded a kiss. Palamon was injured. she put her naked backside out the window. the carpenter. he is drunk and picks an argument with the Reeve before beginning a story about a carpenter at Oxford. On the appointed day. . finding out who they were. and. Nicholas and the young wife. started scheming about how they could have an affair without the carpenter finding out.

The youngest of the three men drew the shortest straw. The Pardoner's confession is similar in its revelation of details to the prologue by the Wife of Bath. bringing up every stereotype about women they had ever uttered and every suspicion that they’d had about her in particular so that she could argue from a defensive position.. are good." The Pardoner is an enigmatic character. She also argued with them constantly.. using the excuse of keeping an eye on them as an explanation for why she was always out at night. All three have found death. This group of people is thrown together when they travel together on a trip to the shrine of Saint Thomas à Becket. while the one who leaves for the town plots to lace the wine with rat poison. despite their corruption. Mention by him of a "draughte of corny strong ale" may suggest that he is being so open because he is drunk. The Prologue In the Prologue to The Canterbury Tales Geoffrey Chaucer introduces the speaker of the poem as a man named Chaucer. which they were told by the Landlord. dying slow and painful deaths. portrayed as grotesque in the General Prologue and apparently aware of his own sin—it is not clear why he tells the pilgrims about his own sin in the prologue prior to his tale—yet his preaching is correct and the results of his methods. Summary he tale is based on a folk-tale of Oriental origin. Her fourth husband was younger. The Prologue gives a brief description of the setting as they assemble at the Tibard Inn in. The three men draw straws to see who among them should fetch wine and food while the other two wait under the tree. They decide that they would sleep at the oak tree over night. using her own marriages as examples. who is traveling from London with a group of strangers to visit Canterbury. but he made her jealous by having a mistress so she made him miserable. Analysis The relationship between tellers and tale is particularly significant in "The Pardoner's Tale. a borough to the southeast of London. the other two kill him and drink the poisoned wine. she says. When he returns with the food and drink. When the men arrive at the tree. the Wife of Bath describes marriage to him. then tells his story and finally draws the conclusion he had already mentioned in his introduction. Three drunken and debauched men set out from a bar to find and kill Death. The first three.After the Pardoner interrupts to say that he has been thinking of being married soon. were to old men who were hardly able to have sex with her. who was murdered in Canterbury in 1170. so they can take the coins in the morning. they find a large number of gold coins and forget about their quest to kill Death. and all other people that previously have died. she was able to make them appreciate her more when she did decide to be nice to them. The Pardoner's Tale "The Pardoner's Tale" (Middle English: The Pardoners Tale) is one of The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer. The two plot to overpower and stab the other one when he returns. He then says they can find Death at the foot of an oak tree. She flattered these men by pretending to be jealous of them.. An old man they brusquely query tells them that he has asked Death to take him but has failed. who gives . whom they blame for the passing of their friend. The story is in the form of an exemplum: the Pardoner first explains the theme he will address. By arguing. although many variations exist..

He writes: ―The kneeling posture to which the Pardoner summons the pilgrims would place their noses right before his deficient crotch. Chaucer develops his description and analysis of the Pardoner throughout the Pardoner’s Tale using suggestive analogies that provide the reader with the perception of a man of extreme sexual and spiritual poverty. Augustine. However. willingly admitting that he abuses his authority and sells fake relics. ―The pardoner conspires to set himself up as a moveable shrine endowed with relics unsurpassed by those of anyone else in England.‖ The suggestion that outward appearances are reliable indicators of internal character was not considered radical or improper among contemporary audiences.‖ Yet. Vance expands upon this comparison. and avarice. functions fully even when the one possessing that authority is in a state of mortal sin.‖ In addition. an influential theologian of the late medieval period. he admits extortion of the poor. such as satire. The Pardoner is also deceptive in how he carries out his job. the vivid depiction of the Pardoner’s hair. which according to the Catholic Church. of course. Chaucer's use of subtle literary techniques. Character analysis The religious climate at the time that Chaucer wrote this piece was pre-Reformation. Therefore. the irony of the character is based in the Pardoner's hypocritical actions. pocketing of indulgences. particularly the Fals Semblaunt episode. those locks ―yellow as wax But smoothe as a strike (hank) of flex (flax). This irony could be an indication to Chaucer's dislike for religious profit—a pervasive late medieval theme hinging on anti-clericalism. Instead of selling genuine relics. C. had a philosophy concerning how God was able to work through evil people and deeds in order to accomplish good ends. Thomas Aquinas. Chaucer may have also been referencing a doctrine of St. This is true of many of the tales and their tellers. The cross he carries appears to be studded with precious stones that are in fact bits of common metal. .‖ does little to improve the reader’s opinion of his moral character. Spearing has written that "much of the individual coloring of the actual tale is drawn from its teller. which in this case is supported by how the corrupt Pardoner is able to tell a morally intact tale and turn others from his same sin. not departed saints. the relics are all fakes. Augustine of Hippo concerning the Donatist heresy of fourth and fifth century Northern Africa in which Augustine argued that a priest's ability to perform valid sacraments was not invalidated by his own sin. identifying a sexual innuendo implicit in the Pardoner’s many relics. Both prologues are heavily influenced by the Romance of the Rose. which is reflected in the quality of the narrative attributed to him. seem to convey this message. Indeed. ―outward and visible signsof an inward and invisible grace. General themes Though the Pardoner preaches against greed. the Pardoner might also be seen as a reinforcement of the Apostolic Authority of the priesthood. Eugene Vance illustrates one parallel effectively fostered by Chaucer’s sexual innuendoes. as explained by St. the Sacraments were still largely considered. the bones he carries belong to pigs. Using his position as an agent of the Roman Catholic Church. but the Pardoner's motives are woven even more tightly into his tale than most. He also admits quite openly that he tricks the most guilty sinners into buying his spurious relics and doesn't really care what happens to the souls of those he's swindled. The Pardoner is also described as a good speaker in his portrait in the General Prologue to the Canterbury Tales. The critic A. and failure to abide by teachings against jealousy.away details about herself in her prologue. creating a suggestion of both the Pardoner's impotence and his spiritual ill-worth.

When Pope Boniface VIII schemed with the Blacks to seize power over Florence in a military coup. That straight was come from the court of Rome. coining new words and paving the way for major works of literature written in the vernacular. Dante’s a big cahuna among poets. His hatred of the Pope can be seen throughout his Divine Comedy. Dante was exiled. the richest of the Italian city-states and possibly all of Europe at that time. . it is possible that with the Pardoner.Thus. the Divine Comedyis a literary reaction to the bitterly contested politics of medieval Florence. Inferno In A Nutshell Written in the early fourteenth century by Italian politician Dante Alighieri. I trowe he were a gelding or a mare. Let’s imagine a far-fetched contemporary scenario set in America that would roughly approximate Dante’s catastrophe.. But more than just a means to get payback. You’re a famous novelist. the Divine Comedy is the first Italian epic work of poetry that is not in church Latin but in the vernacular – the language of the common people – the Florentine dialect of Italian. Florence. Not surprisingly. A smooth it was as it were late shave. and fewer still have recovered to reach such heights. in this story Dante puts his enemies in Hell. and your latest masterpiece won the Pulitzer Prize. So Dante played a major role in standardizing the Italian language. The Divine Comedy is Dante's fictional account of himself traveling through the three divine realms: Hell. No beard had he. his friend and his companion. love. the Inferno is heavily populated with corrupt Florentine politicians characterized as sinners. Full loud he sang "Come hither.. and Heaven. nor never should have. In other words. A voice he had as small as hath a goat. In the General Prologue of the Tales. Why Should I Care? Few people in history have fallen so hard and so fast as Dante Alighieri. Purgatory. to me!" This Summoner bore to him a stiff burden . Chaucer was criticizing the administrative and economic practices of the Church while simultaneously affirming his support for her religious authority and dogma. In the space of a few weeks. was divided between two political parties – the Blacks (who supported the Pope) and the Whites (who didn’t). he went from a famous poet and influential citizen in his native Florence to a desperate political exile. the Pardoner is introduced with these: With him there rode a gentle Pardoner Of Rounceval.

and as long as your political party maintains power. you can’t get them back again without experiencing some pretty harrowing things. You don’t have to be rich or famous to lose everything. As a young man. he has to crawl through Satan’s intestines. and your friends have either been killed or have turned against you. Virgil says. What we really hope to convey is that Inferno is a book that can totally blindside you. You undergo go a conversion – literally. or people who can at least imagine what it would be like to find themselves there. While you’re on a trip to Europe to visit some foreign dignitaries. We can only say: we second that motion. Hollywood movies tend to preach instant redemption.participate in some of the worst atrocities every committed by humans. Far from being simply about revenge and punishment. But one day. Looking at the big picture. and then some.‖ Owing to your good reputation.You have a penthouse apartment in New York City and every night you dine alongside rich and powerful friends. you can depend on having its patronage and protection. You can imagine some variation of Dante’s scenario playing out at school or in your family. the unthinkable happens. a political refugee living on welfare. The upside is that when you think you can’t go any lower. You’re told that if you return to America. you invented an entirely new way of writing. mostly because they view success in terms of money. your political party is completely wiped out. in a good way. you’d better empty the change out of your pockets. in the middle. Leave all your intellectual baggage and prejudices about ―classic‖ literature at the foot of those imposing gates of Hell. Dante is willing to trust the friendlier face. Inferno is really about a man trying to pick himself up off the ground – battered and bloodied – and find some kind of meaning in life. And once you’ve lost your dignity and your ethical compass. but plenty of smart folks have done that elsewhere. but facing a choice between a ferocious man-eating beast and Virgil. Huh? This makes no sense. You’re now forced to move from country to country. Your house and bank accounts have been seized. he’ll have to go underground. This is about the point where Inferno begins. that things can’t possibly get worse: that’s the moment when the world flips upside down. Put another way: to become a good person. but harrowing nonetheless. While you’re at it. Think this could never happen to you? So did Dante. you’ll be put to death on the spot. . too: you’re about to have your world flipped upside down. which your fawning critics labeled ―the sweet new style. to some degree. But Dante shows that real spiritual loss is a very different animal. the most interesting thing about Inferno is the direction of the Pilgrim’s journey. To find God. Inferno is a story for people at the end of their rope. We could go on and on about the importance of Inferno in literary history. He’s trying to climb a mountain. but to get there. a ―turn‖ – and suddenly start traveling back up toward the light. Dante has to understand and. Maybe not ones involving serpent-demons or cannibalized clergymen. you’ve become deeply engaged in government. That is to say.

lustful sinners are tossed around by endless storms. a woman who was stuck in a loveless. Virgil stays to talk with the beast while urging Dante to look at the last of the Violent sinners. a celebrated Roman poet and also Dante’s idol. through all its nine circles and back up into the air of the mortal world. our dynamic duo enters the sixth circle. The eighth circle contains ten pouches. Dante and Virgil must wait for an angel to come down and force open the gates for them. violence.Inferno Summary How It All Goes Down The Inferno follows the wanderings of the poet Dante as he strays off the rightful and straight path of moral truth and gets lost in a dark wood. Virgil leads Dante on to the fourth circle. Beatrice. Dante is rescued by the ghost of Virgil. Virgil resides here. Dante talks to the glutton Ciacco. along with a bunch of other Greek and Roman poets. they mount Geryon and ride the beast during the descent into the eighth circle. After passing the city of Dis. Then the final two circles will include all the sinners of ordinary fraud and treacherous fraud. a sinner named Filippo Argenti reaches out to Dante (presumably for help). summons the beast Geryon from the depths with a cord wrapped around his waist. As they cross from the sixth to the seventh circle. Just as three wild animals threaten to attack him. considered pre-Hell. In the second circle. and fraud. Dante and Virgil ready themselves to cross to the eighth circle. Virgil takes Dante on a guided tour of Hell. a famous Florentine. he fails. where the Gluttonous sinners suffer under a cold and filthy rain. Dante then awakes in the third circle. The seventh circle will show all the violent sinners. a fellow writer and famous poet. at Virgil’s command. Dante talks to Farinata degli Uberti. where the Heretics lay in fiery tombs. where the Violent are punished. but Dante angrily rejects him. When Dante comes back. Finally. Virgil finally begins explaining the layout of Hell. who prophesies disaster for Florence. to send someone down to help him. Dante speaks to the soul of Francesca da Rimini. just contains all of the unbaptized and good people born and before the coming of Christ. Now at the gates of a city called Dis. Virgil takes it upon himself to persuade the demon guards to let them pass. Virgil answers that the head honchos of Heaven – the Virgin Mary and Santa Lucia – felt sorry for Dante and asked the deceased love-of-Dante’s-life. where the Avaricious (greedy people) and Prodigal (reckless spenders) roll heavy weights in endless circles. While they are crossing the Styx. For the rest of the Inferno. We soon learn that all human sins are divided into three big categories: incontinence (or lacking self-control). This means that instead of continuing on with the journey. When asked why in hell (pun intended) he came. who obviously couldn’t be saved by him. each containing different types of sinners. When Dante and Virgil reach the third pouch where simonists (people who use money to get high positions in the . Unexpectedly. arranged marriage and committed adultery when she fell in love with a dashing youth named Paolo. Everything Dante has witnessed so far has fallen under the first category. The first circle of Hell (Limbo). Dante. The next stop on the tour is the fifth circle. who predicts that Dante will have difficulty returning to Florence from exile. where the Wrathful and Sullen are immersed in the muddy river Styx. And voila! Virgil to the rescue! He’s an appropriate guide because he’s very much like Dante.

the three-headed Lucifer. thieves are continually bitten by serpents whose venom burns them into ashes. the head demon. because he can’t see him) for his successor and Dante’s hated enemy. and punished again – eternally. come to replace him in punishment. Dante is provoked by Bocca degli Abati and uncharacteristically threatens him with violence. four different kinds of falsifiers are punished. As they leave. The ninth circle of Hell. in the shadow of the Mount of Purgatory. immobilized in ice and their tears frozen against their eyes. Dante works up the courage to speak to one of the sinners. Ulysses was not content to fulfill his duties to his family and country. Vanni Fucci. Virgil requests that one of the unbound giants. When the sinister demons see that he is sent by God.Church) are buried headfirst in the ground while their feet roast in flames. where the demons cannot follow. tells Virgil that the nearest bridge has been broken and so assigns ten demons to escort him to the next bridge. Dante promises to break the ice off of the eyes of one of them if he tells him his story. sharing one tongue of flame with Diomedes. healed. Dante converses with one of these sinners. The first one. Dante witnesses the sowers of scandal and schism being disemboweled by a demon with a sword. After spiting Dante and committing blasphemy. He complies. Our heroes hurry into the eighth pouch. features traitors to their kin immersed in ice up to their necks. The soul of Pope Nicholas III mistakes Dante (understandably. Dante witnesses the king of Hell. In the valley of the sixth pouch. Antenora. He moves on to the third zone called Ptolomea. giant and frozen at the core. Pope Boniface VIII. As Dante and Virgil traverse the fifth pouch. Fucci is dragged away by serpents. tells his sinful tale to Dante: once home after his long voyage (recounted in theOdyssey). Judecca. Virgil asks for directions to the next pouch. Ulysses. where traitors against their guests suffer. Virgil bravely approaches the ruthless demons and demands safe passage across the river. In the second zone. where traitors against their benefactors are punished. where traitors are punished. Virgil points out the sinning giants who are immobilized around them in punishment. Dante is so freaked out by this sight that he has to cover his ears to avoid hearing the moans as they pass into the tenth and last pouch. called Caina (after Cain). surpassing the boundaries of human exploration until. After talking to a few of them. This sinner. agrees and Dante learns that this level of sin is so evil that the sinner's soul is condemned to Hell even before his body dies on earth. where fraudulent counselors are encased in flames. they run into the hypocrites who are forced to stand clothed in robes of lead. in which barrators (or corrupt politicians) are forked by demons and plunged into a river of boiling pitch. His words are gibberish. In his three . transport them in the palm of his hand down to the last circle of Hell. Dante and Virgil escape by crossing into the sixth pouch. Antaneus. In the fourth the final zone. and discovers that he is being punished for stealing sacred relics from the Church. he and his crew perished in a violent whirlpool. In the ninth pouch. Malacoda. Fra Dolcino. where traitors to their homeland suffer the same punishment. Nimrod – who was responsible for building the Tower of Babel – has lost the ability to speak coherently. Here. He longed for adventure so he gathered up his aging crew and set sail again. In the tenth pouch. contains four different zones. Afraid of the demons.

Here. Lucifer mechanically chews on the most evil mortal sinners – Judas. . Virgil and Dante follow a path back up to the surface of the Earth and emerge to see Heaven’s stars. Virgil tell Dante that it's time to leave Hell for good. the two climb down Lucifer’s massive body. Brutus. and arrive in the southern hemisphere. With Dante clinging to Virgil’s back. Now that they've finished their tour. and Cassius. which spans the diameter of the entire Earth.mouths.