In Dante's Inferno, by Dante Alighieri, why is the false counselors' punishment to be encased in a tongue of flame?  

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In Dante's Inferno (by Dante Alighieri), Dante is on his life's journey and realizes he has become lost. The Roman poet Virgil comes to the rescue (at the request of Beatrice) to help Dante continue his religious pilgrimage and find himself right with God; in order to finish his journey, however, he must travel through Hell.

Dante and Virgil come to the eighth circle ("bolgia" or "ditch"), which addresses fraud (any kind of lying or misrepresentation).

Two further cantos are devoted to the fraudulent advisers or evil councillors, who are concealed within individual flames.

Included in these areas is anyone who not only lied or gave "false advice," but also anyone who consciously caused others to take part in fraudulent activities. This area punishes all kinds of deception. For instance...

Ulysses and Diomedes are condemned here for the deception of...

(The entire section contains 440 words.)

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