Dante s inferno
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Dante’s inferno. Reading ppt. Canto I . Opens on the evening of Good Friday in the year 1300. Traveling through a dark wood, Dante has los this path and now wanders fearfully through the forest; he has “strayed from the True Way into the Dark Wood of Error.” Dark Wood of Error = worldliness

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Dante s inferno

Dante’s inferno

Reading ppt

Canto i
Canto I

  • Opens on the evening of Good Friday in the year 1300.

  • Traveling through a dark wood, Dante has los this path and now wanders fearfully through the forest; he has “strayed from the True Way into the Dark Wood of Error.”

    • Dark Wood of Error= worldliness

    • Allegorical journey- reference to a life’s journey, veering from the straight road, being alone, losing hope, etc… all suggest an allegorical, NOT a literal journey

Canto i1
Canto I

  • The sun shines down on a mountain above him, and he attempts to climb up it but his way is blocked by three beasts (these three beats all represent different aspects of world sin):

    • Leopard= malice and fraud

    • Lion = violence and ambition

    • She-Wolf = incontinence (lack of self-restraint)

Animal symbolism
Animal symbolism

  • Dante's symbols, the leopard, the lion, and the she-wolf, symbolize carnal sins which are divided into three categories of severity: the sins of malice and fraud, the sins of violence and ambition, and the sins of incontinence, respectively.

  • Leopard tricks people with his spots (fraud); lions are sneaking and violent as they hunt (violence); and wolves are mysterious and usually work in packs.

Canto i2
Canto I

  • Just as Dante faces these three beats, a human figure appears. It is Virgil (great Roman poet).

    • Virgil = Human reason

  • Virgil has come to guide Dante from error. They must first pass through Hell (the recognition of sin), Purgatory (the renunciation of sin), and only then can he come to the Paradise (the light of God).

  • Another guide, Beatrice will take over later

    • Beatrice= divine love

Canto i3
Canto I

  • Look at lines 1-4: what tense is this written in?

  • Why this tense?

  • Lines 15-18: personification

  • Lines 22-25: epic simile

  • Lines 31-33: foreshadowing

    • Predictions include ideas of danger, deceit and fraud

    • The leopard is a real threat but it also represents an abstract idea (there is old story where a leopard changes his spots to fool the other animals)

Canto i4
Canto I

  • Aries= god of creation

    • “new creation” (line 39)= Easter (symbolic new awakening)

  • He is MOST fearful of the She-Wolf

    • Temptation to sin

    • “many souls she has brought to endless grief”

    • He has an EMOTIONAL response to the She-Wolf (not just physical fear); he is convinced she will destroy his hopes for reaching the “high summit.”

      • “she has struck a mortal tremor in me” (line 87)

Canto i5
Canto I

  • (pg. 662)- Virgil’s life

    • Story of Anchises’ son, Aeneas: In Greco-Roman mythology, Aeneas was a Trojan hero, the son of the prince Anchises and the goddess Aphrodite.

  • Virgil is his true master and mentor (lines 81-83)

  • She-Wolf

    • “but feeding, she grows hungrier than she was” (line 93)- gluttony; never satisfied

    • The She-Wolf kills all who approach her but someday a magnificent hound will come and chase her back to hell

Canto i6
Canto I

  • “set upon a burning mountain” (referring to the mountain of Purgatory)- line 111

    • Possible purification in this place (between heaven and hell)

    • Suffering is borne in hope because it is a part of purification that will result in the rise to Paradise.

  • Ends with Virgil offering to guide Dante to Paradise where Beatrice will take over (because of the She-Wolf, he cannot pass…)

Canto iii

Canto III

Pages 665-671

In pop culture
In pop culture

  • First Circle: Limbo

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rIlIiKijork

  • Second Circle: Lust

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9CDHAFy38ig

  • Third Circle: Gluttony

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tV_kEStNMP4

  • Fourth Circle: Greed

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MY3BtdM2qYI

  • Seventh Circle: Violence

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rMdJ1r6x27Q

  • Eighth Circle: Fraud

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gBydVySik6s

  • Ninth Circle: Treachery

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zUXQFbM4BV0

Canto iii1
Canto III

  • Gates of Hell (portrayal of Hell as an actual city)

    • “sacred justice moved by architect” (line 4)- God created Hell out of justice; a desire to see sin punished and virtues rewarded. (ultimate JUSTICE)

    • “Abandon all Hope, You Who Enter Here”

Canto iii2
Canto III

  • Law of symbolic retribution

    • Punishment that symbolizes the crime

    • “as they sinned, so are they punished”

    • All about ULTIMATE JUSTICE and DIVINE JUSTICE (justice carried out by God)

Canto iii3
Canto III

  • Opportunists

    • Those souls who were neither good nor bad but only for themselves. They lived their lives without making conscious moral choices; therefore both Heaven and Hell have denied them. (reside in the Ante-Inferno)

    • They must constantly chase after a blank banner. Flies and wasps continually bite them and consume the blood and tears that flow from them.

      • Dante recognizes Pope Celestine V here (renounced his title)

Canto iii4
Canto III

  • Symbolic retribution of the opportunists:

    • Took no sides- so they are given no place

    • Ever-shifting illusion- so they pursue an ever-shifting banner

    • Their sin was a darkness- so they move in darkness

    • Guilty conscious pursued them- wasps pursue them

    • Actions were a moral filth- they run eternally through the filth of worms and maggots

Canto iii5
Canto III

  • Acheron= the first of the rivers of Hell

    • Newly arrived damned souls wait to be ferried along

  • Charon= boatman of the river

    • Refuses to take Dante because is a living soul (lines 85-90)

    • Virgil forces Charon- God ordained it (lines 91-93)

  • Dante faints and does not awaken until they get to the other side

    • “sleep comes over in a swoon” (line 133)

Canto iii6
Canto III

  • “Divine justice transforms and spurs them so their dread turns wish: they yearn for what they fear” (lines 121-123).

    • Hell= sin (allegorically) so….

    • Hell is their CHOICE, for divine grace is denied to none who wish for it in their hearts.

Canto v

Canto V

Pages 674-682

In pop culture1
In pop culture

  • Second Circle: Lust

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9CDHAFy38ig

  • Third Circle: Gluttony

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tV_kEStNMP4

  • Fourth Circle: Greed

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MY3BtdM2qYI

Canto v1
Canto V

  • Virgil and Dante are now in the SECOND circle of Hell (size does not change, just “size” of crimes)

  • Minos: monster who stands in front of the endless line of sinners, assigning them to their torments.

    • Wraps his tail around them; number of times around = number of hell they are assigned

    • From classical Greek mythology; son of Europa and Zeus, descended in the form of a bull

Canto v2
Canto V

  • Sins of Lust: those who betrayed reason to their appetites; their sin was to abandon themselves to the tempest of their passions: so they are swept forever in the tempest of Hell, forever denied the light of reason and of God.

  • List of famous “sinners” of lust

  • Francesca tells her own story (as Paolo weeps)

  • Dante immediately feels sympathy for these souls and once again faints

Canto v3
Canto V

  • http://danteworlds.laits.utexas.edu/circle2.html#francesca

  • Semiramis: legendary queen of King Nimus; tricked her husband’s army and had him killed.

  • Dido: Queen of Carthage; falls in love, only to be left by the Trojan hero Aeneas

  • Cleopatra: last pharaoh of Ancient Egypt; had affair with Caesar and bore a son as co-ruler

  • Helen- of Troy

  • Achilles- Greek hero of Trojan War; died in an ambush after falling in love with the Trojan princess Polyxena; overall, lustful character

  • Paris- story of Troy

  • Tristan- a Cornish hero and one of the Knights of the Round Table; he and Iseult accidentally consume a love potion and fall in love, having a secret affair.

  • Francesca and Paolo (tells their story…)

    • Allusions

    • All are women who followed their passions

Canto v4
Canto V

  • The story of Francesca and Paolo

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OrI1VAQEos8

    • Bound in marriage to an old and deformed man, she fell in love with Paolo, her husband’s younger brother. One day, as she and Paolo sat reading an Arthurian Legend about the love of Lancelot and Guenivere, each began to feel that the story spoke to their own secret love,

    • When they came to a particular romantic moment in the story, they could not resist kissing. Francesca’s husband quickly discovered them and had Paolo killed.

    • Francesca and Paolo are doomed to spend eternity in the second level of Hell.

Canto v5
Canto V

Symbolic Retribution

  • “stripped bare of ever light” (in darkness)- where inappropriate sins/acts would have occurred

  • Naked

  • In a “hellish flight of storm” sweeping their souls and whirling and battering them on- just as their sin is of the flesh, the storm racks their nerves and hurts their skin.

  • Out of control storm- they demonstrated lack of control as well

    **Central theme- those who abandon reason for passion will be punished**

Canto xxxiii


Hand out

Canto xxxiii1

  • Circle Nine (compound fraud)

    • Round two: Antenora (The Treacherous to Country)

    • Round three: Ptolomea (the Treacherous to Guests and Hosts)

In pop culture2
In pop culture

  • Eighth Circle: Fraud

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gBydVySik6s

  • Ninth Circle: Treachery

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zUXQFbM4BV0

Canto 33 fraud and treachery
Canto 33: Fraud and Treachery

The nine circles are groups into

threes, corresponding to the three

kinds of vice that Dante learned

from Aristotle:

  • incontinence (the Wolf)

  • violence (the Lion)

  • fraud and malice (the Leopard).

Canto 33 fraud and treachery1
Canto 33: Fraud and Treachery

  • The ninth circle, Cocytus(a river in the Greek underworld which means "river of wailing") is reserved for sins of fraud and treachery.

  • Therounds are dedicated to a specific type of sin (Antenora, treachery towards country, and Ptolomea, treachery towards guests and hosts).

Canto 33 antenora treachery toward country
Canto 33: Antenora (treachery toward country)

  • Named for Antenor who betrayed Troy to the Greeks (in some versions).

  • Count Ugolino and Archbishop Ruggieriare in the Round for treason: they once plotted together, and Ruggieri betrayed his fellow-plotter and caused his death by starvation along with his four “sons.” His sons offer their father themselves as food.

  • In Dante’s world of symbolic retribution, Ruggieri becomes food for Ugolino, who gnaws on his head.

Canto xxxiii2

  • Story of Count Ugolinoand Archbishop Ruggieri

    • The sinner raises himself from his gnawing and declares that in life he was Count Ugolino; the man whose head he chews was Archbishop Ruggieri. Both men lived in Pisa (community known for scandal but went unpunished), and the archbishop, a traitor himself, had imprisoned Ugolino and his sons as traitors. He denied them food, and when the sons died, Ugolino, in his hunger, was driven to eat the flesh of their corpses.

Canto 33 antenora treachery toward country1
Canto 33: Antenora (treachery toward country)

  • Ugolino’s sons are actually grown men and the younger grandson is fifteen; for effect, Dante makes them much younger.

  • The Canto brings forth the concept of fairness: is Ugolino’s revenge justified?

  • Ugolino has betrayed Pisa by giving up castles during a war, and for this, he is punished. Dante also blames Pisa for allowing his children to die.

Ptolomea treachery to guests and hosts
Ptolomea (treachery to guests and hosts)

  • At this point, Dante is numb from witnessing the horrors of Hell.

  • He is also confused as to the source of the wind.

  • Hell is not warm and full of light from fire: it is a “frozen mine” (metaphor).

  • The round is named for Ptolomeus, who invited Simon Maccabaeus, king of Judea, and his two sons to a banquet and then murdered them.

Ptolomea treachery to guests and hosts1
Ptolomea(treachery to guests and hosts)

  • Those condemned to this round lie with only half their faces above the ice and their tears freeze in their eye sockets, sealing them with little crystal visors. Thus, the comfort of tears is taken away from them.

  • So great is the sin of Friar Alberigo and Brancad’Oriathat their souls fall to its torments even before they die, leaving their body still on earth, inhabited by demons.

    • To avenge an insult, Friar Alberigo invited his brother Manfred and his son to dinner. At the signal “bring the fruit,” murderers killed Manfred and son.

  • Dante promises the Friar that he will relieve his punishment if he will tell his story; however, he breaks it, because then he will not suffer to the full extent.

Ptolomea treachery to guests and hosts2
Ptolomea(treachery to guests and hosts)

  • Brancad’Oriainvited his father-in-law to a feast, Michel Zanche, and then murdered him.

  • In this Round, Dante introduces the idea the demons (and Satan) can live on earth through living souls.

Canto xxxiii3

  • Ptolomea

    • Houses those who betrayed their guests. The souls here lie on their backs in the frozen lake, with only their faces poking out of the ice. Tears cannot offer comfort because the water freezes as crystal visors over their eyes.

    • Friar Alberigo-13th century Italian. His family were banished from Faenza by their rivals. Alberigohad his brother and nephew killed during a banquet at his home. Alberigo's orders to bring fruit was the signal for the murder. Dante portrays him as regretting this crime, stating in Canto XXXIII that he is repaid in Hell in dates for the figs he called for at the banquet (dates being much more expensive than figs).

    • Brancad’Oria- treacherous murder of Michele Zanche, his father-in-law, in 1275.

  • Although these individuals have not yet died on Earth, their crimes were so great that their souls were obliged to enter Hell before their time; devils occupy their living bodies aboveground.

Canto xxxiii4

  • Infamy: extremely bad reputation, public reproach, or strong condemnation as the result of a shameful, criminal, or outrageous act

  • Ugolino will tell his story only because he hopes to bring condemnation to Ruggieri (lines 5-9)

  • Irony in “gnaw his brain” (line 15)

  • Importance of hospitality (Greek “code”)

Canto xxxiii5

  • Spiritual retribution

Canto xxxiv


Pages 683-690

Canto xxxiv1

  • Ninth Circle (Compound Fraud) : Cocytus

    • Round 4: Judeca, the Treacherous to their Masters

    • The Center: Satan

  • Betrayal- Dante considered this the worst sin

    • They betrayed their masters; now they are tortured by their “master” Satan (holds all three in his mouth)

      • Judas, Brutus and Cassius

Canto xxxiv2

  • Story of the three men in Satan’s mouth

    • Judas:

    • Brutus:

    • Cassius:

Judas iscariot
Judas Iscariot

  • Judas Iscariotwas, according to the New Testament, one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ.

  • He is infamously known for his kiss and betrayal of Jesus to the hands of the chief Sanhedrin priests in exchange for a payment of 30 pieces of silver, after which he subsequently hanged himself out of remorse and guilt.

    • Mark states that the chief priests were looking for a sly way to arrest Jesus. They decided not to do so during the feast since they were afraid that people would riot; instead, they chose the night before the feast to arrest him. In the Gospel of Luke, Satan enters Judas at this time.

  • According to the account in the Gospel of John, Judas carried the disciples' money bag.He betrayed Jesus for a bribe of "thirty pieces of silver“ by identifying him with a kiss — "the kiss of Judas — to arresting soldiers of the High Priest Caiaphas, who then turned Jesus over to Pontius Pilate's soldiers.


  • Marcus Junius Brutus (early June, 85 BC – 23 October, 42 BC), often referred to as Brutus, was a politician of the late Roman Republic.

  • He is best known in modern times for taking a leading role in the assassination of Julius Caesar.

    • Many senators began to fear Caesar's growing power following his appointment as dictator for life.Brutus was persuaded into joining the conspiracy against Caesar by the other senators.Eventually, Brutus decided to move against Caesar after Caesar's king-like behavior prompted him to take action.


  • Gaius Cassius Longinus (before 85 BC – October, 42 BC) was a Roman senator, a leading instigator of the plot to kill Julius Caesar, and the brother in-law of Marcus Junius Brutus.

  • Although Cassius was "the moving spirit" in the plot against Caesar, Brutus became their leader. On the Ides of March, 44 BC, Cassius urged on his fellow liberators and struck Caesar in the face. Though they succeeded in assassinating Caesar, the celebration was short-lived, as Mark Antony seized power and turned the public against them. According to some accounts, Cassius had wanted to kill Antony at the same time as Caesar, but Brutus dissuaded him

Canto xxxiv3

  • Satan

    • “his great wings beating like a windmill. It is their beating that is the source of the icy wind of Cocytus” (LITERAL meaning of the frozen environment)

    • Titans only come up to his armpits (line 30)

    • “bat like wings” (line 48-50)

    • “Grotesque parody of the Trinity”- 3 faces with 3 sinners in his mouth (page 685)

    • No longer beautiful as he was in heaven

Canto xxxiv4

  • Retribution