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Talk about your interesting field trips. Before we go, we should get familiar with some of the places we’re going to see, and who we can expect to find there. Attached is a breakdown of Hell as designed by Italian poet Dante Aligheri for his epic poem The Divine Comedy. Part one of this epic is called The Inferno (in which Dante tours Hell, where severe sinners are sent). Part II is called Purgatorio (in which Dante tours Purgatory, where mild sinners are sent), and part III is called Paradiso (in which Dante tours paradise, where good people are rewarded). The Inferno opens on the evening of Good Friday in the year 1300. Traveling through a dark wood, Dante Alighieri has lost his path and now wanders fearfully through the forest. The sun shines down on a mountain above him, and he attempts to climb up to it but finds his way blocked by three beasts—a leopard, a lion, and a she-wolf. Frightened and helpless, Dante returns to the dark wood. Here he encounters the ghost of Virgil, the great Roman poet, who has come to guide Dante back to his path, to the top of the mountain. Virgil says that their path will take them through Hell and that they will eventually reach Heaven, where Dante’s beloved Beatrice awaits. He adds that it was Beatrice, along with two other holy women, who, seeing Dante lost in the wood, sent Virgil to guide him.
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The Physical Structure of Inferno
Dante's Hell is shaped like a funnel that extends all the way to the center of the earth. It is situated underneath the city of Jerusalem, which is at the center of the northern hemisphere. Opposite Jerusalem, at the center of the southern hemisphere is the mountain of Purgatory. Lucifer is immobilized at the bottom of Hell, where he fell after the defeat in his rebellion against God. This funnel is made of nine circles. The first circle is the widest and, progressively, the ninth circle is the smallest. This ninth circle surrounds Lucifer. Each circle is reserved to a different category of sinners: Ante-Hell (The Vestibule): This is a place where the souls of the damned fall at their death. From here they are brought by Charon into Hell through the river Acheron. Some souls, the Neutrals (The Indifferent), remain here, because they never chose either good or evil so they must chase constantly after a blank banner. Flies and wasps continually bite them, and writhing worms consume the blood and tears that flow from them.
3rd circle: The Gluttonous. The guardian is Pluto. a Florentine. mostly clerics. Reserved for the souls of the just people who never knew Christ. 2nd circle: The Lustful. Landscape: heavy steady rain. and those (especially infants) who died without baptism and never committed a sin. Dante talks to Ciacco. go opposite direction. gossiping on everyone. Landscape: a violent storm which tosses around the souls. as he was going from people to people. Ciacco gives Dante the first prophecy of his future exile. . Dante talks to Francesca da Rimini. The three-headed dog. Cerberus.Upper Hell: the Incontinent 1st circle: Limbo. Minos guards this circle. is the guardian. bumping into each other as they push big rocks. who tells him how she became involved in an adulterous affair with Paolo. who makes no sense when he talks. who used to be a parasite. No relevant character is found here. 4th circle: The Avaricious and Prodigals. These souls. Here Dante encounters the ancient philosophers and poets. her brother in law.
. These trees are the souls of the suicides. They are plunged into boiling pitch and guarded by ten sneaky demons (Malebranche) led by Malacoda (evil tail). They try to stop Dante. king of ancient Crete. at the edge of the circle. The river Phlegethon cascades into the eight circle. 1) Panders and Seducers. 5) Barrators. Dante enters the city and sees a huge cemetery filled with open tombs with fire coming out of them. These souls are immersed in excrements. These souls are submerged into the river Styx. helped by the Furies and the Medusa. who mistakes him for Boniface VII. Dante talks to Farinata degli Uberti and Cavalcante de' Cavalcanti. and there is no path to go down. Tiresias. They are watched over by the Centaurs. Among the trees Dante sees the souls of the squanderers. These souls are plunged into a river of boiling blood: the river Phlegethon. 3) Violent against God and Nature. Dante talks to Pier delle Vigne. so they have to walk backwards. Their heads are turned backwards.. The trees have no leaves because the Harpies keep plucking them as they sprout. and Dante's friend. Dante and Virgil are carried down by a three-nature monster. They are set heads down into holes in the rock with flames burning on their feet. It is called Malebolge because it is divided into ten bolge (ditches). 3) Simonists. and later he sees three Florentines. Then Dante talks to his teacher Brunetto Latini. etc. Geryon. but a divine messenger forces them to open the door. Phlegyas will take Dante and Virgil across this river in his boat.5th circle: The Wrathful and Sullen. chased by bitches. 2) Flatterers. Blasphemers. 4) Diviners. Astrologers and Magicians. Ciampolo of Navarra (a sinner) succeeds in cheating the demons in a hellish context. Dante talks to Venedico Caccianemico. One of the tombs contains the souls of the Epicureans. Here Dante talks to Filippo Argenti. stricken by Zeus's bolt for his rebellion. Lower Hell: Violence and Fraud The city of Dis: High walls with closed doors guarded by devils. Manto and Eurypylus. The wrathful emerge from the dirty waters while the sullen are completely submerged. the poet. These souls are scourged by horned demons. Introduced by the Minotaur. this circle is divided into three rings: 1) Violent Against their Neighbors (tyrants and murderers). It is an unnatural forest with leafless trees. an old acquaintance for whom he has no pity. father of Guido. Virgil talks to Capaneus. Dante talks to Pope Nicholas III. Virgil talks to some ancient people: Amphiaraus. 7th circle: The Violent. 2) Violent against Themselves (suicides). Lower Hell: Violence and Fraud. which surrounds the city of Dis. continued 8th circle: Fraud. Among the modern: Michael Scot. 6th circle: The Heretics. Dante talks to Alessio Interminei and the ancient Thais. Sodomites. personal secretary of Frederick II.
Dante talks to Fra Alberigo. coins and words. which is freezing their eyes. Brutus and Cassius are in the side mouths. Master Adam is the most colorful of them. among them Bertram de Bornio. who holds his severed head like a lamp as he walks along. First Virgil talks to Ulysses. It is divided into four sections. He is Count Ugolino who is gnawing the Archbishop Ruggeri's head. the Whites. and his exile from the city. These are immersed in the ice with head down. The ice of the 9th circled is kept frozen by Lucifer's six flapping wings. 7) Thieves. . with three mouths. Dante sees one who keeps biting on another's head. This circle is surrounded by the Giants. As in the previous ditch. this too is crowded. He tells Dante the account of his death. persons. the Homeric hero. These souls keep changing into snakes. Dante talks to Carmiscione de' Pazzi. Dante recognizes (among others) Vanni Fucci. It is like a huge hospital with people with all kinds of deformities. 8) Fraudulent Counselors. then Dante talks to Guido da Montefeltro. each chewing on a sinner: Judas is in the middle mouth with his head inside. who is there while his body is still alive. One of them.6) Hypocrites. who predicts the defeat of Dante's party. These sinners are completely immersed into the ice. Lucifer has three faces. 9) Sowers of Discord and Schism. mostly monks of the Jovial order. a turned saint sneaky character. 2) Antenora: Traitors to Homeland. 4) Giudecca: Traitors to Benefactors. The sinners are in a frozen lake. clothed in heavy caps of lead. These souls are physically torn apart. for having killed his guests as he invited them for dinner. These souls slide away in the ditch as flames. Antaeus. 1) Caina: Traitors to Kin. Cocytus. 3) Ptolomea: Traitors to Guests. Dante talks to two of them from Bologna. They are head up in the ice. Dante talks to a few. takes Dante and Virgil and puts them down into the ice. with their heads hanging out. 10) Falsifiers of metals. 9th circle: Treachery. These souls. walk slowly.