Who are the characters in Canto 3 of Dante's Inferno?

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bmadnick's profile pic

bmadnick | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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The new characters are the Uncommitted Souls that Dante and Virgil see when they enter the Vestibule of Hell. These were people who were not committed to God on earth because they couldn't make a decision for good or evil. Their punishment is to be stung by wasps and hornets as they rush about, and worms feed on their blood that drips to the floor.

The next new character Dante meets is Charon, the one who ferries travelers across the Acheron River to Hell. He reminds Dante and Virgil that those who enter Hell do not return, but Virgel tells Dante that this doesn't apply to Dante since he's still alive.


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gbeatty | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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In this canto, as in most cantos, there are several characters. The main characters are Dante and Virgil, his guide. Charon, the ferryman from Greek mythology who transports the dead, is in the canto, as are a large number of uncommitted souls. (They aren't really characterized individually.)

bfw0521's profile pic

bfw0521 | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

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Below is a listing of the characters with some limited information about their actions.

  • Dante: veiws the disembodied souls, meets Charon then passes out from fear
  • Virgil: convinces Charon to allow Dante to enter after using his wisdom
  • Charon: ferryman for the dead and requires payments before crossing the River Acheron.
  • The Opportunist: people who made no choices for good or evil; thus, are chased, lacking light from darkneess, and covered in filth. Among them is referenced Pope Celestine V (verse 56-57).
  • Undecided Angels: (mixed amongst the opportunist) those who did not choose a side during the great divide in heaven.

Information adapted from: Norton World Masterpieces of Literature ed.6