- A Guide to Dante's 9 Circles of Hell
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- Second Circle (Lust)
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Look at Dante's related but very different version of Cerberus in Inferno 6. How has Dante transformed him to fit the role of guardian in the circle of gluttony? How does Cerberus himself shed light on Dante's conception of the sin? Verses , describing the actual experience of a dog intent on his meal, exemplify Dante's attention to the real world in his depiction of the afterlife.
A Guide to Dante's 9 Circles of Hell
Dante, who certainly accepts the common medieval belief in the essential relationship between names and the things or people they represent, at times chooses characters for particular locations in the afterlife based at least in part on their names. Independently of what Dante writes in Inferno 6, we unfortunately know very little of Ciacco's life. Boccaccio claims that, apart from the vice of gluttony for which he was notorious , Ciacco was respected in polite Florentine society for his eloquence and agreeableness.
Another early commentator Benvenuto remarks that the Florentines were known for their traditionally temperate attitude toward food and drink--but when they fell, they fell hard and surpassed all others in their gluttony. At this time, Florence was politically divided between two rival factions known as white and black guelphs.
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Ciacco Inf. The white guelphs--the "party of the woods" because of the rural origins of the Cerchi, their leading clan--were in charge in May , when violent skirmishes broke out between the two parties. Although ring-leaders from both parties were punished by banishment Dante, a white guelph, was part of the city government that made this decision , by spring of the following year most of the white guelphs had returned while leading black guelphs were forced to remain in exile.
However, the tables were soon turned so that by "within three suns" from the riots of six hundred leading white guelphs Dante among them were forced into exile. The black guelphs prevailed because they were supported by Charles of Valois, a French prince sent by Pope Boniface VIII "one who tacks his sails" ostensibly to bring peace to Florence but actually to instigate the violent overthrow of the white guelph leadership.
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They are punished by being blown violently back and forth by strong winds, preventing them from finding peace and rest. Strong winds symbolize the restlessness of a person who is led by the desire for fleshly pleasures. Again, Dante sees many notable people from history and mythology including Cleopatra, Tristan, Helen of Troy and others who were adulterous during their lifetime. When reaching the Third Circle of Hell, Dante and Virgil find souls of gluttons who are overlooked by a worm-monster Cerberus.
Second Circle (Lust)
Sinners in this circle of Hell are punished by being forced to lie in a vile slush that is produced by never-ending icy rain. Here, Dante speaks to a character called Ciacco who also tells him that the Guelphs a fraction supporting the Pope will defeat and expel the Ghibellines a fraction supporting the Emperor to which Dante adhered from Florence which happened in before the poem was written after They are divided into two groups — those who hoarded possessions and those who lavishly spent it — jousting.
They use great weights as a weapon, pushing it with their chests which symbolizes their selfish drive for fortune during their lifetime. Here, Dante says to see many clergymen including cardinals and popes.
The Fifth Circle of Hell is where the wrathful and sullen are punished for their sins. Transported on a boat by Phlegyas, Dante and Virgil see the furious fighting each other on the surface of the river Styx and the sullen gurgling beneath the surface of the water. Again, the punishment reflects the type of the sin committed during their lifetime. When reaching the Sixth Circle of Hell, Dante and Virgil see heretics who are condemned to eternity in flaming tombs.
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The latter, however, is according to some modern scholars condemned by Dante as a heretic by mistake. Instead, as some scholars argue, the poet probably meant the Byzantine Emperor Anastasius I. The Seventh Circle of Hell is divided into three rings.
The Outer Ring houses murderers and others who were violent to other people and property. Here, Dante sees Alexander the Great disputed , Dionysius I of Syracuse, Guy de Montfort and many other notable historical and mythological figures such as the Centaurus, sank into a river of boiling blood and fire.
In the Middle Ring, the poet sees suicides who have been turned into trees and bushes which are fed upon by harpies.