Inferno is a fourteenth-century epic poem written by famed Italian writer Dante Alighieri; it is the first part or cantica of his popular narrative poem the Divine Comedy, the other two being Purgatorio (Purgatory) and Paradiso (Paradise). In Inferno, Dante and his trusted companion Virgil set out on a spiritual journey through the nine concentric circles of hell (Limbo, Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Wrath, Heresy, Violence, Fraud, and Treason).
The Divine Comedy is an allegorical representation of the human soul's journey toward God, and Dante must travel through hell in order to eventually ascend to paradise. In hell, those who sinned and rejected the word and will of God are condemned to eternal suffering and are punished according to their sins and wrongdoings.
The Divine Comedy is composed of one hundred cantos and 14,233 lines; each part consists of thirty-three cantos, with the exception of the Inferno, which has thirty-four cantos. This one additional canto is actually the introduction to the epic poem, in which Dante meets with the Roman poet Virgil, whom he greatly admires and who agrees to guide both Dante the pilgrim and Dante the poet on his journey through hell. The majority of the cantos consist of 136–152 lines. The poem follows an aba, bcb, cdc rhyme scheme or terza rima, which was presumably invented and first used by Dante himself.