Created on: January 20, 2013 Last Updated: January 22, 2013
In Dante’s Inferno, written in the 14th century, Dante Alighieri details his vision of hell as he takes a guided tour through its nine circles. His guide is the famous Greek poet, Virgil. Dante envisions hell to be in the shape of a funnel, created from descending rings. The souls of those who have sinned in life are gathered in specific rings to be punished. The larger, outer rings hold those whose sins were thought to be less severe. As Dante is led deeper into the center of hell, the sinner’s deeds are worse, as are the punishments.
Dante’s Inferno was written as an epic poem and was divided into cantos. From his introduction where he explains that he one day woke in a dark forest at the edge of hell, each canto brings him closer and closer to the center of hell. Along the way Dante’s guide and some of the sinners themselves explain what they have done to have been sentenced to hell.
Before entering into the first circle of hell, Dante sees a large group of suffering souls. These souls are rejected by heaven but also ignored by hell because they never accepted God. They spend eternity chasing a banner and continuously being stung by gadflies and hornets.
First Circle of Hell (Canto IV)
The first river of hell, Acheron must be crossed to enter the first circle of hell. To cross this body of water, Dante and Virgil must take a boat ride with the demon Charon. In this outer most ring, the first circle of hell holds those in Limbo. Souls that are limbo are those that were born before the coming of Jesus Christ or were never baptized. Their punishment is merely the constant ache of being without God’s love. “Lost are we and are only so far punished. That without hope we live on in desire.”
Second Circle of Hell (Canto V)
Before the second circle of hell sinners line up to be judged by the giant beast Minos. Minos wraps his long tail around the sinner as many times as the circle he sends them down to for punishment. “There standeth Minos Horrible, and snarles; Examines the transgressions at the entrance; Judges, and sends according as he girds him.”
Beyond Minos the souls of the second circle of hell are those that are guilty of Lustfulness. These sinners are tossed forever through the sky by hurricane like winds. They will forever be tormented by these winds. “The infernal hurricane that never rests. Hurls the spirits onward in its rapine.
Third Circle of Hell (Canto VI)
Those that were Gluttonous
Below are the top articles rated and ranked by Helium members on:
An analysis of the circles of hell in Inferno, by Dante Alighieri
Cast your vote!
Click for your side.