THIS IS THE MEDIEVAL EASTER SEASON THE ANGEL ADDRESSES THE THREE MARYS AT THE EMPTY TOMB OF CHRIST. DANTE IS 35 IN 1300, THE FICTIONAL DATE OF THE POEM.
THE SUNRISE QUIETS HIS FEAR. DANTE BEGINS ONCE AGAIN TO ASCEND THE HILL. HE IS SEARCHING FOR THE RIGHT PATH.
THE DARK HILL THAT HE MUST CLIMB, FOR HE HAD LOST THE WAY. THE PATH WAS RENEWED BY THE APPEARANCE OF SOL. HE BEGAN TO CLIMB, ONCE AGAIN.
HE FIRST ENCOUNTERS THE LEOPARDSYMBOL OF MALICE AND FRAUD THE LEOPARD DRIVES HIM BACK FROM THE PATH.
DANTE AND THE LION HE NEXT ENCOUNTERS THE LION. SYMBOL OF VIOLENCE AND AMBITION, THIS IS ANOTHER OBSTACLE IN HIS JOURNEY TO SEEK THE RIGHT PATH.
THE SHE WOLF SYMBOL OF INCONTINENCE SHE DRIVES DANTE BACK IN DESPAIR. HE NOW FEARS THAT HE IS TOTALLY LOST.
VIRGIL IN DANTE’S DESPAIR, VIRGIL COMES TO HIS RESCUE. SYMBOL OF CLASSICAL HUMAN REASON, A GOOD BEGINNING GUIDE, DANTE WILL EVENTUALLY UNDERSTAND THAT REASON CAN ONLY TAKE ONE SO FAR UPON THE JOURNEY.
CANTO II THE DESCENT INVOCATION OF THE MUSE. DANTE CALLS UPON THE ANCIENT MUSE FOR INSPIRATION. EUTERPE, THE GREEK INSPIRATION OF POETRY WAS A LIKELY CONJUR. INVOCATION OF THE MUSES IS A TYPICAL CHARACTERISTIC OF THE EPIC.
It is near the end of the day; Dante then asks Virgil if he considers him worthy of making the long and arduous journey. Virgil tells Dante that an Angelic spirit, Beatrice, has concern for him. Virgil relates the conversation between them and tells Dante that Beatrice had descended to Limbo, sent by the Virgin Mary, through her messenger St. Lucia, to plead for Virgil’s aid in helping to bring Dante back from his dark wanderings. Beatrice wept when she spoke with Virgil, and now, Virgil tells Dante, the three Ladies of Heaven care for him—have courage. Dante’s courage is renewed; Virgil moves away and Dante follows.
Canto III ABANDON ALL HOPE YE WHO ENTER HERE. THE GATE OF HELL
Virgil tells Dante that this is the place that he had spoken of earlier; he takes Dante’s hand and leads him into a dark and starless place of such horrific noise that Dante weeps. Here are the souls of the uncommitted, who live for themselves alone, and of the angels who did not rebel against God, nor did they support Satan. HEAVEN and HELL will not have them. They remain here with the selfish, forever chasing a banner. They are eternally stung by hornets and wasps. At their feet, worms are fed by their blood and tears.
The river Acheron looms ahead, and a boatman appears who shouts at the spirits and tells them that he will take them to a place from which they can never escape. Dante sees people standing eagerly awaiting passage. Charon, the boatman, orders Dante to leave because he is still living. Virgil tells Charon that he cannot prevent Dante’s crossing. Heaven has willed Dante’s way.
Limbo is a Noble Castle of great Pagan Poets Dante and Virgil are welcomed by Homer, Horace, Ovid, and other aesthetic artisans of the ancient Past. They welcome and honor Dante as one of their own. Their pain is that they were unfortunate in being born before the illuminating presence of Christ came incarnated into the world. They are sinless, not physically tormented, they have no hope of ever seeing God.
Yet, there are individuals in this catacomb of Woe who were allowed to embrace the visage Of God. Old Testament patriarchs, in particular: Adam, Abel, Noah, Moses, Abraham, David, the King Of Israel were transported to Heaven In the Harrowing of Hell. Notice that Eve, the Mother of the race is not mentioned. Do you wonder why?
The Ancient Poets Homer, the great poet Horace, the satirist
Ovid Greatest of the ancient Roman poets. Lucan greeting Dante These individuals represent the Highest achievement of human Reason unaided by Divine Love
Canto V The Carnal; the Lustful Here the Lustful are eternally buffeted by a violent Storm. The bestial Minos is the judge of the dead. When a sinner approaches him, he wraps his tail Around his body. The number of encirclements determines which Circle of Hell the sinner goes to.
The Carnal Sinners are Continually Whirled Around.
Canto VI This is the Circle of the Gluttons. A cold, barren place, filled with icy snow and slush, pelting rain. Cerberus, a monstrous three-headed dog, stands over the sinners sunken into the filthy slush. He howls and barks furiously, clawing all within reach. Virgil silences him by throwing dirt in his mouth.
Virgil, Dante, and hungry dog Ciacco, the hog, is also here. He prophesies that Florence will undergo a war; One party will be defeated and banished.
Canto VIII Phlegyas, boatman Of dead souls, Ferries Dante And Virgil Across the river Styx. The Wrathful and The Sullen reside Here.
A further Graphic view Of their Crossing the Styx. Notice the Poor, suffering Souls.
Dis, the great city of Hell, the lower part. This is the Approach to Dis. The demons, The Fallen Angels exist here. They obstruct, Oppose, Dante’s Passage.
Dis is described As having Mosques. Why do you Think such An image Is Utilized?
Dante is confronted by Medusa Before the city walls, Called by the Furies If Dante Looks At her, He will Be Turned To stone.
Canto IX The realm of the heretics. They need a Heavenly Messenger to unlock The gate. One appears, Sent by God To aid Dante On his quest. With a wave of a Wand, the Gates Are opened, and They continue on.
Canto XII This is the Seventh Circle, the First Ring; contained here are the Violent against their Neighbors, against God, or themselves. The Centaurs exist here, led by Chiron, who instructs Nessus to guide Dante and Virgil across the boiling River of blood. The beginning of the descent is rocky, broken, perhaps From an earthquake. The only opening is a cleft in the Rock guarded by Minotaur, who is in a horrific rage.
Perhaps A better Image of The grisly Beast. Half man, Half bull, A horrific Challenge.
Chiron, tutor of Achilles. These half human, Half beast creatures Symbolize the Bestial nature of People. Catholicism Wishes to Eliminate this Part of human Nature.
Chiron instructs Nessus to lead them across the Boiling river of blood, which he does. The Minotaur and the centaurs are like their figures in mythology: The Minotaur is violent and bloodthirsty, a fitting Guardian for the Seventh Circle. The centaurs were mythological creatures capable of sudden violence.
They kept the Sinners in the Boiling blood By shooting Arrows at them.
Canto XIII Still in the Seventh Circle, Second Ring is where the Violent against Themselves (suicides) are found. The Squanderers, or those violent against their Possessions, are also found here. The suicides in the dreary wood are transformed into Strange trees. The Squanderers are hounded and rent by bitches.
CANTO 15 Circle Seven: Round ThreeThe Violent Against Nature. The poets are protected by the powers of the boiling rill, and So walk along its banks across the burning plain. The Wood of Suicides is behind them; the Great Cliff at Whose base lies the Eighth Circle, before them. They pass a roving band of Sodomites. One of the sinners Stops Dante and he recognizes him under his baked Features as Ser Brunetto Latino. Dante had greatly admired This writer and pays him the highest tribute offered to any Sinner in the Inferno.
Brunetto Latino Accosts Dante. He gives an account of the Souls that move with him Through the fire. Finally, under Divine Compulsion, he races off Across the plain.
CANTO XVI The descent into the Abyss On Geryon’s back.
CANTO XXVIII Circle Eight: Bolgia Nine.The Sowers of Discord. A Bolgia is a ditch or pouch. Here they come to the edge of The Ninth Bolgia and gaze down at a throng of hideously Mutilated souls, the Sowers of Discord. Their sin was to rend asunder what God had meant to be United; they are hacked and torn apart for all eternity by A great demon with a bloody sword. After being mutilated the souls must drag their broken Bodies around the pit and return to the demon, where Their since healed bodies are once again rent by the sword.
Three Different Classes of Sinners are Here Sowers of Religious Discord: Mahomet and his son- in-law, Ali, split from crotch to chin appear first. Mahomet, the creator of Islam, and Ali, represent the rift between Christianity and Mohammedanism. The other two classes are: The Sowers of Political Discord, and The Sowers of Discord between Kinsmen. They are all punished according to the Law of Divine Retribution.
Mahomet, from Dante’s perspective, One of the great Sinners in history.
Canto XXXI Central Pit of Malebolge This is the central pit of Malebolge, a great well. At the bottom lies Cocytus, the ninth and final circle of Hell. The Giants and Titans are here. Nimrod, builder of the Tower of Babel. Ephialtes and Briareus who warred against the Gods. Tityos and Typhon who insulted Jupiter. Antaeus, who is there for no particular reason.
All are bound except For Antaeus. They are the sons of Earth, elemental Forces unbalanced By love, desire without Restraint. Great intellect without Acknowledgment of Moral and theological law.
Anateus lowering Virgil and Dante to the final floor of Hell
Canto XXXII Circle Nine: Cocytus—Compound Fraud Round One: Caina—Treacherous to Kin Round Two: Antenora—Treacherous to Country
At the bottom of the well Dante finds himself on a huge frozen lake. This is Cocytus, the Ninth Circle, the fourth and last great water of Hell. Sinners are frozen in the ice. This is Dante’s symbolic equivalent of the final guilt: denials of love (God) and of human warmth.
Because they denied God’s love they are the furthest removed from the light and warmth of His Sun. They denied all human ties, so they are bound only be the unyielding ice. The first round is Caina where frozen are the sinners who were treacherous against blood ties.
The frozen in hell. Only the remorseless dead Center of the ice will serve To express their natures.
Canto XXXIV Ninth Circle: Cocytus—Compound Fraud Round Four: Judecca—Treacherous to their Masters The Center: Satan
Here is Satan, fixed into the ice at the center, to which flow all the rivers of guilt. His great wings beat like a windmill and provide the icy wind. In a grotesque parody of the Trinity, he has three faces, each a different color. In each mouth he rips three sinners: Judas, Brutus, Cassius.
These, in Dante’s vision, are the three greatest sinners of all time: Betrayers of Church and State, and the worst punishment is meted out to these individuals. They symbolize the Christian and the Roman tradition.