First Circle (Limbo)
Here reside the unbaptized and the virtuous pagans, who, though not sinful, did not accept Christ. They are not punished in an active sense, but rather grieve only their separation from God, without hope of reconciliation Second Circle
Those overcome by lust are punished in this circle. They are the first ones to be truly punished in Hell. These souls are blown about to and fro by a violent storm, without hope of rest. Third Circle
Cerberus guards the gluttons, forced to lie in a vile slush made by freezing rain, black snow, and hail. Fourth Circle
Those whose attitude toward material goods deviated from the desired mean are punished in this circle. They include the avaricious or miserly, who hoarded possessions, and the prodigal, who squandered them. Guarded by Plutus, the miserly group pushes great rocks towards the center of the circle; the wasters must take the rocks back to their own side of the circle Fifth Circle
The Stygian Lake, with the Ireful Sinners Fighting
William BlakeIn the swamp-like water of the river Styx, the wrathful fight each other on the surface, and the sullen or slothful lie gurgling beneath the water. Phlegyas reluctantly transports Dante and Virgil across the Styx in his skiff Sixth Circle
Heretics are trapped in flaming tombs.
Lower Hell, inside the walls of Dis, in an illustration by Stradanus. There is a drop from the sixth circle to the three rings of the seventh circle, then again to the ten rings of the eighth circle, and, at the bottom, to the icy ninth circle.This circle houses the violent. Its entry is guarded by the Minotaur, and it is divided into three rings:
Outer ring, housing the violent against people and property, who are immersed in Phlegethon, a river of boiling blood, to a level commensurate with their sins. The Centaurs, commanded by Chiron, patrol the ring, firing arrows into those trying to escape. The centaur Nessus guides the poets along Phlegethon and across a ford in the river (Canto XII). This passage may have been influenced by the early medieval Visio Karoli Grossi.
The Wood of the Self-Murderers: The Harpies and the Suicides, c. 1824-7. William Blake, Tate. 372 × 527mm.Middle ring: In this ring are the suicides, who are transformed into gnarled thorny bushes and trees. They are torn at by the Harpies. Unique among the dead, the suicides will not be bodily resurrected after the final judgment, having given their bodies away through suicide. Instead they will maintain their bushy form, with their own corpses hanging from the limbs. Dante breaks a twig off one of the bushes and hears the tale of Pier delle Vigne, who committed suicide after falling out of favor with Emperor Frederick II. The other residents of this ring are the profligates, who destroyed their lives by destroying the means by which life is sustained (i.e. money and property). They are perpetually chased by ferocious dogs through the thorny undergrowth. (Canto XIII) The trees are a metaphor; in life the only way of the relief of suffering was through pain (i.e. suicide) and in Hell, the only form of relief of the suffering is through pain (breaking of the limbs to bleed). Inner ring: The violent against God (blasphemers), the violent against nature (sodomites), and the violent against order (usurers), all reside in a desert of flaming sand with fiery flakes raining from the sky. The blasphemers lie on the sand, the usurers sit, and the sodomites wander about in groups. Dante converses with two Florentine sodomites from different groups. One of them is Dante's mentor, Brunetto Latini. Dante is very surprised and touched by this encounter and shows Brunetto great respect for what he has taught him. The other is Iacopo Rusticucci, a politician. (Cantos XIV through XVI) Those punished here for usury include the Florentines Catello di Rosso Gianfigliazzi, Ciappo Ubriachi, and Giovanni di Buiamonte and the Paduans Reginaldo degli Scrovegni and...
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