Dante's Inferno Summary

Dante's Inferno summary

In Dante's Inferno, the Pilgrim travels through Hell, guided by the Roman poet Virgil. Together, they pass through the nine circles of Hell, witnessing the atrocities inflicted on the souls of the damned.

Dante's Inferno summary key points:

  • Dante's Inferno begins when Dante falls asleep and loses his way on the journey through life.

  • He encounters the poet Virgil and the two begin a series of travels.

  • Dante and Virgil go to Hell where they witness the many punishments for those who disobeyed God during their lives.


The Divine Comedy is a narrative poem describing Dante's imaginary journey. Midway on his journey through life Dante realizes he has taken the wrong path. The Roman poet Virgil searches for the lost Dante at the request of Beatrice; he finds Dante in the woods on the evening of Good Friday in the year 1300 and serves as a guide as Dante begins his religious pilgrimage to find God. To reach his goal, Dante passes through Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise.

The Divine Comedy was not titled as such by Dante; his title for the work was simply Commedia or Comedy. Dante’s use of the word “comedy” is medieval by definition. To Dante and his contemporaries, the term “comedy” meant a tale with a happy ending, not a funny story as the word has since come to mean.

The Divine Comedy is made up of three parts, corresponding with Dante’s three journeys: Inferno, or “Hell”; Purgatorio, or “Purgatory”; and Paradiso, or “Paradise.” Each part consists of a prologue and approximately 33 cantos. Since the narrative poem is in an exalted form with a hero as its subject, it is an epic poem.

Dante and Virgil enter the wide gates of Hell and descend through the nine circles of Hell. In each circle they see sinners being punished for their sins on earth; Dante sees the torture as Divine justice. The sinners in the circles include:

Circle One - Those in limbo
Circle Two - The lustful
Circle Three - The gluttonous
Circle Four - The hoarders
Circle Five - The wrathful
Circle Six - The heretics
Circle Seven - The violent
Ring 1. Murderers, robbers, and plunderers
Ring 2. Suicides and those harmful to the world
Ring 3. Those harmful against God, nature, and art, as well as usurers
Circle Eight - The Fraudulent
Bowge (Trench) I. Panderers and Seducers
Bowge II. Flatterers
Bowge III. Simoniacs
Bowge IV. Sorcerers
Bowge V. Barrators
Bowge VI. Hypocrites
Bowge VII. Thieves
Bowge VIII. Counselors
Bowge IX. Sowers of Discord
Bowge X. Falsifiers
Circle Nine - Traitors
Region i: Traitors to their kindred
Region ii: Traitors to their country
Region iii: Traitors to their guests
Region iv: Traitors to their lords

On Easter Sunday, Dante emerges from Hell. Through his travels, he has found his way to God and is able, once more, to look upon the stars.

Estimated Reading Time
The average silent reading rate for a secondary student is 250 to 300 words per minute. Since each page contains approximately 11 stanzas of 27 words, the average number of words per page is 300 words. The words in Dante’s Inferno include many which most students have never heard or seen; since these words relate to the geography of a foreign country, people who are not well-known, and lesser mythological characters, students should adjust their reading rate accordingly. Since it is important that students consult the endnotes, glossary, and/or a dictionary, the reading rate will be slowed further.

Each page takes readers 2-3 minutes if they read carefully, consult the notes in the edition they are reading, use the dictionary or glossary regularly, and take notes for study purposes. Since there are 291 pages in the Penguin Classics edition, this means that the student will need 291 times 3 minutes, or 873 minutes (about 15 hours). It is evident, then, that the estimated reading time for this book is longer than for a typical narrative. Reading The Inferno according to the natural canto breaks is the best approach.

Dante's Inferno Summary and Analysis

Dante's Inferno Canto 1 Summary and Analysis

New Characters
Dante: The writer, narrator, main character, and traveler in The Inferno

Leopard: The first character (Self-indulgence) whom Dante meets

Lion: The second character (Violence) whom Dante meets

She-Wolf: The third character (Malice) whom Dante meets

Virgil: Ancient Roman poet who appears to Dante and becomes his guide

Midway on his journey through life, Dante falls asleep and loses his way. He wakes during the night of Maundy Thursday to find himself in a dark wood; he does not know how he got there. Dante loses the right way; the narrow road he had wanted to travel has disappeared. Dante feels hope when he sees the morning rays of sun over the mountain, even though he is still alone in the valley.

As he scales the mountain, Dante encounters a leopard; the leopard impedes his progress but it is not very frightening. The second animal that Dante meets is a fierce, hungry lion, which comes toward him swiftly and savagely. The third—and worst—animal that Dante encounters is a vicious she-wolf; she terrifies Dante so much that he is unable to continue his travels.

The shade of the poet Virgil appears to Dante. Until the greyhound comes to secure the wolf in Hell, Virgil explains, the only way past the wolf is by another path. Virgil offers to show Dante the path to an eternal place where he can see long-parted souls; at that point, Virgil says, another guide will come and take Dante to a city which Virgil cannot enter. Dante accepts Virgil’s offer and follows the poet.


(The entire section is 689 words.)

Dante's Inferno Canto 2 Summary and Analysis

New Characters
Beatrice: Woman who begs Virgil to rescue Dante (Heavenly Wisdom)

St. Lucia: Messenger from the Virgin Mary

The Virgin Mary: Sends the messenger St. Lucia to Virgil

Aeneas: A character from Virgil’s Aeneid; author of “young Silvius’ birth”

St. Paul: One who, like Dante, writes of his view of Hell

Friday has almost ended. Dante and Virgil have been climbing most of the day. Dante begins to question whether he should continue the journey. Dante remembers that Aeneas and St. Paul traveled to Hell and he feels inferior to both of them. Dante asks who said he should go to this place and what would happen if he should fail.
Virgil tells him that an angelic spirit named Beatrice had concern for Dante. The Virgin Mary sent Beatrice to Virgil through St. Lucia, her messenger, to ask Virgil to bring Dante from his wandering.

Virgil tells Dante to be brave; three women in Heaven are concerned for him. Dante confesses that his courage is now stronger. Virgil moves on and Dante follows him.

Discussion and Analysis
Aeneas was a Trojan prince and the hero of Aeneid, written by Virgil. In Aeneid, Aeneas, the father of Silvius, goes to Hades, guided by the Sibyl, and returns safely; while there, he visits his father...

(The entire section is 501 words.)

Dante's Inferno Canto 3 Summary and Analysis

New Characters
Uncommitted: Souls not rebellious against God and yet not committed

Charon: One who takes travelers across the Acheron River

Dante and Virgil pass through the wide gates of Hell. They read the inscription there (“Abandon hope, all ye who enter here.”) and enter the Vestibule of Hell. They see those who were true only to themselves in their prior life; these people were not rebellious against God and yet they were not committed to Him in their life on earth. These people rush about but never make any decision; their faces bleed from the sting and bite of hornets and wasps and worms devour the blood which drips to the ground.

Virgil and Dante find a boat rowed by a white-haired man. This ferryman of the Acheron River reminds them that those who cross do not return; Virgil explains that one with will and power has deemed otherwise. When Dante hears the noise of the wind and sees the danger below, he swoons.

Discussion and Analysis
The gates of Hell are wide and easy to enter; this is in direct contrast to the straight, narrow way that Dante lost before he found himself in the wood on Maundy Thursday. The inscription reminds those who enter that they must give up all hope; they make the trip to Hell as a choice and cannot return. This inscription, Virgil reminds him, does not apply to Dante....

(The entire section is 410 words.)

Dante's Inferno Canto 4 Summary and Analysis

New Characters
The Blameless but Unbaptized and Those Who Lived Before the Age of Christendom: Souls in limbo from the First Circle

Dante awakens to find that he is on the brink of Hell. When Dante looks into the pit, he cannot see its bottom. Virgil tells him that they must travel into the pit. Dante says that Virgil’s pallor frightens him, but Virgil says it is the anguish within the pit and not the journey that causes his pallor.

From the First Circle come not the wails of anguish but the sounds of sighing. The souls which are sighing are those who are blameless but unbaptized and those who lived good lives...

(The entire section is 712 words.)

Dante's Inferno Canto 5 Summary and Analysis

New Characters
Minos: Legendary King of Crete who occupies the threshold of the Second Circle and assigns places to the damned

Those Guilty of the Sin of Lust: Include Lancelot, Cleopatra, Achilles

Francesca and Paolo: Adulterous couple killed by Francesca’s husband, Gianciotto da Verruchio

As Dante descends from the First Circle, he finds that the Second Circle holds greater woe. As he goes further down into Hell, he finds those guilty of the sin of lust. The threshold to the Second Circle is guarded by Minos; each person who enters must confess to Minos, who decides their fate. The place is dark and...

(The entire section is 573 words.)

Dante's Inferno Canto 6 Summary and Analysis

New Characters
Cerberus: Three-headed dog who watches over the Third Circle of Hell

The Inhabitants of Circle Three: The gluttonous

Ciacco: Gluttonous male inhabitant of Florence; nickname means “pig”

In Circle Three Dante finds constant rain, sleet, snow, and hail. Cerberus, the three-headed dog, meets Dante and Virgil; Virgil manages to quiet the dog’s attacks by throwing mud from the ground into the three mouths. All around Virgil and Dante are gluttons lying in the mud.

One of the gluttons named Ciacco is from Florence. He speaks to Dante and Virgil. Ciacco predicts that the political...

(The entire section is 395 words.)

Dante's Inferno Canto 7 Summary and Analysis

New Characters
Pluto: God of the underworld and riches; at entrance to the Fourth Circle

The Hoarders and the Spendthrifts: Condemned to push and pull great weights for their sins

The Wrathful: Those who are ferocious and those who withdraw in black sulkiness and can find no joy; condemned to a marsh

As Dante and Virgil enter the Fourth Circle, they encounter Pluto. Pluto begins to say a chant to Satan. Virgil reminds Dante that Satan has no power over them.

Dante compares the movements of the souls in the Fourth Circle with the waves caused by the Charybdis. The souls hoarded and...

(The entire section is 539 words.)

Dante's Inferno Canto 8 Summary and Analysis

New Characters
Phlegyas: The mariner on the Styx who comes for Dante and Virgil

Filippo Argenti: Florentine resident; had differed politically with Dante

At the top of the tower Dante and Virgil see two sparks of light; in the distance two sparks answer and Phlegyas, the angry oarsman, arrives. Phlegyas does not like the fact that Dante and Virgil are only visitors and not to be permanent residents of the area.

Dante expresses anger toward the soul in the mud who tries to hold their boat. Dante expresses this contempt toward the man—whom he recognizes. Virgil commends Dante for his expression of contempt...

(The entire section is 453 words.)

Dante's Inferno Canto 9 Summary and Analysis

New Characters
Three Furies: Queen Medusa’s handmaids: Alecto, Magaera, Tisiphone

The Heavenly Messenger: Helper to Virgil and Dante; possibly St. Paul

The Heretics: In open graves; had trusted reason rather than the church

Medusa: Evil, serpent-haired goddess; could turn people to stone

Dante begins to lose hope when Virgil is denied entrance to the City of Dis. Even Virgil is pale at this point. Dante asks Virgil if he has ever made the trip before and Virgil tells him that he had once gone to the City of Dis at the insistence of a witch named Erichtho. Virgil’s task at that time had been...

(The entire section is 758 words.)

Dante's Inferno Canto 10 Summary and Analysis

New Characters
Farinata degli Uberti: Leader of the Ghibellines, the party responsible for killing Dante’s grandfather; favored imperial authority

Cavalcante dei Cavalcanti: A shade who was once of the Guelph party

Virgil and Dante pass near the city walls. Virgil reminds Dante that in the days of Jehoshaphat those buried shall come anew. They are greeted by Farinata degli Uberti. Dante and Farinata exchange words about the fighting between the Ghibellines and the Guelph parties through the years. Farinata foretells the length of Dante’s exile and explains that the dead have knowledge of the future. Farinata...

(The entire section is 432 words.)

Dante's Inferno Canto 11 Summary and Analysis

As the two poets pause before entering the Seventh Circle, they note the writing on a vault by which they rest. The writing indicates that the vault holds Pope Anastasius whom Photinus lured. As they wait Dante asks that they spend their time well.

Virgil complies; he explains that the three circles below them are devoted to sins of violence. The acts of violence committed by souls in these circles are directed against God, against self, and against neighbor. Since God hates sins against neighbors the most, this circle is most distant from God and closer to the bottom of the pit. Virgil explains also that there are two kinds of fraud: that which...

(The entire section is 467 words.)

Dante's Inferno Canto 12 Summary and Analysis

New Characters
Minotaur: Creature with the head of a bull and the body of a man

Centaurs: Creatures with the heads of men and the bodies of horses

Chiron: Chief centaur

Deianira: Wife of Hercules; dipped his shirt in blood of Nessus

Nessus: Centaur who tried to carry off Deianira (wife of Hercules); his blood on Hercules’s shirt caused Hercules so much pain that Hercules burned himself to death

Violent Sinners: Guilty of violence, included Pyrrhus, Achilles’ cruel son

Dante and Virgil see a place where a great landslide has occurred and where the Minotaur has come forth from the resulting cleft. Virgil...

(The entire section is 581 words.)

Dante's Inferno Canto 13 Summary and Analysis

New Characters
Harpies: Voracious creatures with bodies of birds and heads of women

Bleeding Trees: Trees containing the souls of suicide victims

“Two that ran”: A reference to Lano of Siena (who sold his estates with other young men in a club and who wasted his money and life) and to Jacomo di Sant Andrea (who burned his own home for fun)

Pier delle Vigne: Accused of plotting against Fredrick II; took own life after being blinded and imprisoned; deemed guilty of only suicide—not betrayal—by Dante since in upper level

Dante and Virgil find themselves in a dark forest which is not green...

(The entire section is 388 words.)

Dante's Inferno Canto 14 Summary and Analysis

New Characters
Blasphemers: Includes Capaneus, one of seven kings in siege of Thebes

Dante gathers the scattered leaves and places them about the tree to whom he is speaking; Dante and Virgil continue their journey.

They next find themselves in a desert pelted by a rain of fire; Dante speculates that Cato once marched here. They find the blasphemers. Virgil speaks with anger to Capaneus and compares his hot rage to the hot sands. The two travelers see a brook whose color is red near the sand. Virgil tells Dante that this brook puts out all flames.

Virgil tells Dante of the past days of Rhea and of the old...

(The entire section is 373 words.)

Dante's Inferno Canto 15 Summary and Analysis

New Characters
Violent Against Nature: Committed sins against the body and Nature; punished by running; Including Sodomites and alcoholics.

When the two continue their journey Dante notes that the banks of the river are comparable to the dikes of Flanders and of Padua, Italy. They see the Violent against Nature who are running perpetually. One of these runners speaks and Dante sees that it is Brunetto Latini, a former advisor to Dante. They greet each other and convers; Dante thanks him and Brunetto predicts that Dante will be treated poorly by those in Florence. Latini notes Dante's merits and speaks ill of the injustice of...

(The entire section is 229 words.)

Dante's Inferno Canto 16 Summary and Analysis

New Characters
Three Florentines: Ask Dante about Florence; now in Hell

Near the waterfall Dante encounters three Florentines; they recognize Dante’s dress as being Florentine. The three men were once nobles and one introduces them: Guido Guerra, Tegghiaio Aldobrandi, and Jacopo Rusticucci. Jacopo inquires of Florence; he explains that the shades have had concerns since Guillim Borsier’ told them many tales. After Dante tells them of self-made men and excesses in Florence, they ask that he tell the living of them. As suddenly as they had come, the three run away.

The two travelers find that they are very close to...

(The entire section is 489 words.)

Dante's Inferno Canto 17 Summary and Analysis

New Characters
Geryon: The monster from the Circles of Fraud; also a monster killed by Hercules; part beast, part man, and part reptile

Usurers: Moneylenders who multiply luxuries at the expense of the earth and others; with Sodomites since both make a steril earth

The monster Geryon which rises from the Circles of Fraud has a kindly face, the body of a snake, and hairy arms and paws. The two travelers must approach him, however, in order to continue their journey; to reach the Nether Region, they must descend on the creature’s back.

Near the monster is a group of people on the sand. Virgil instructs

(The entire section is 371 words.)

Dante's Inferno Canto 18 Summary and Analysis

New Characters
Venedico Caccianemico: Member of the Guelphs who sold his own sister

Horned Fiends: Those who beat the naked sinners in the Malbowges

Jason: Greek hero who searched for the golden fleece and seduced others

Alessio Interminei: A White Guelph; a flatterer with “slick” manners

Dante describes the region in Hell called the Malbowges, or Evil Pockets. He explains that this area is made of iron-gray stone and has ten divisions. In the middle of this cone, or narrowing round, is a well. Dante describes how the traffic of the souls in the Malbowges is controlled: one side keeps their...

(The entire section is 369 words.)

Dante's Inferno Canto 19 Summary and Analysis

New Characters
Simoniacs: Include Pope Nicholas III; profited from sale of holy items

This canto begins with a reference to Simon Magus and his disciples who have sold the things of God for profit.

Dante describes those in the Third Bowge (Trench) of the Malbowges; he sees holes in the banks and grounds where only the feet of the sinners are showing. The feet of these shades are on fire; their joints quiver with pain. When Dante asks whom he is seeing Virgil asks Dante to follow him and they will go to the lower bank so that Dante can see for himself what is going on in the holes.

Dante addresses one of...

(The entire section is 537 words.)

Dante's Inferno Canto 20 Summary and Analysis

New Characters
Sinners with Their Heads on Backwards: Astrologers, sorcerers, and magicians; represented by Michael Scott, Asdante, and Guy Bonatti

Dante describes the sinners with their heads on backwards and how he was moved to pity and to weeping upon seeing them. Virgil on the other hand, reprimands Dante for crying and asks who could be more wicked than one who is tormented here.

Virgil refers to Amphiaraus and Tiresias in his speech telling of the origin of Mantua. Some of the people whom Dante sees just before he and Virgil leave the area are Michael Scott, Asdante, and Guy Bonatti.


(The entire section is 254 words.)

Dante's Inferno Canto 21 Summary and Analysis

New Characters
Barrators: Sinners who made money in public office

Demons: Include Hacklespur, Hellkin, Harrowhound, Libbicock, Dragonel, Barbinger, Grabbersnitch, Rubicant, Farfarel, Belzecue

The Fifth Bowge is dark and filled with the bubbles of boiling pitch; to prevent the sinners from drawing themselves from the pitch, demons keep pushing them down, much as a cook stirs a cooking pot of stew to make sure all bits and pieces in the pot are submerged.

Virgil suddenly pulls Dante aside and cries, “Look out!” A winged demon, carrying an alderman, is moving quickly behind Dante. This alderman is a...

(The entire section is 395 words.)

Dante's Inferno Canto 22 Summary and Analysis

New Character
The Soul from Navarre: Probably Gian Polo; Spaniard; former servant

Dante says that the many sights and sounds of his past do not compare with the journey that he is now beginning. Dante sees sinners jumping into the hot-pot to escape the wrath of the demons; one soul, however, does not submerge himself and is hooked by a demon. This soul is from Navarre and tells of events in his life; after his narrative the demons torture the shade.

The soul tells of others who occupy the pit with him: Fra Gomita and Don Michael Zanche. He makes a deal with the demons to fetch up seven to substitute for himself. The...

(The entire section is 292 words.)

Dante's Inferno Canto 23 Summary and Analysis

New Characters
Hypocrites: Wear cloaks with hoods, bright colors, and lead linings

Catalano and Loderingo: Two hooded friars from Bologna

Caiaphas: High priest; condemned Christ; crucified in Hell by triple stake

Dante and Virgil continue their journey single file. Dante recalls a story from Aesop of a frog and a mouse; these thoughts occupy his mind for a while, and he has a feeling of fear of the demons in the back of his mind. When he expresses his concern, Virgil admits similar fears. The two travelers now see the demons swooping low as if trying to snatch up the pair.

Dante and Virgil flee...

(The entire section is 547 words.)

Dante's Inferno Canto 24 Summary and Analysis

New Character
Vanni Fucci from Pistoia: A thief; a runner from the serpents in the trench; predicts the future to hurt Dante

The poets continue their journey. Dante is glad when Virgil’s anger cools and they can continue the journey in a more pleasing manner. Virgil continues to help Dante and to give advice as they go; Dante heeds his recommendations.

In looking down into the pit, the two see only blackness. Dante suggests descending further so that he can look below. When they are finally able to see in the chasm of the seventh trench, the two see serpents of all types. Naked shades run terrified in their midst;...

(The entire section is 413 words.)

Dante's Inferno Canto 25 Summary and Analysis

New Characters
Cacus: Dragon with spread wings and breath of fire

Five Spirits: Florentine noblemen who (except for Puccio) change to animal shapes; include Agnello dei Brunelleschi, Cianfa die Donate, Buoso Degli Abati, Francesco Guercio dei Cavalcanti, and Puccio dei Galigai

Vanni Fucci, the thief, makes a rude gesture and blasphemes; even the snakes seem to try to prevent Fucci from his actions. Dante admits pleasure at the placement of Fucci in the Inferno at this point and says that on his journey he has seen no other shade so defiant toward God. Pursued by an angry centaur, Vanni leaves at this point. On the...

(The entire section is 593 words.)

Dante's Inferno Canto 26 Summary and Analysis

New Characters
Counselors of Fraud: Sinners who convince others to practice fraud; spiritual thieves who rob others of integrity

The Dual Flame: Ulysses and Diomede; planned the Trojan horse

Dante appears to praise Florence because its reputation is scattered across land, water, and Hell. Dante refers to the bitter favor which Prato wanted for the city.

As they move on the stairs, Dante reflects that he must curb his “hot spirit” so as to use wisely his good gifts. Ahead Dante sees the Eighth Trench with its fires. These spires of flame come from the bodies of each thief below. While Dante watches, he...

(The entire section is 701 words.)

Dante's Inferno Canto 27 Summary and Analysis

New Character
Guido da Montefeltro: Ghibelline leader who persuaded Pope Boniface VIII to use treachery to gain the fortress of Palestrina

The flame moves on when Virgil dismisses it.

Another flame speaks. Dante compares the speaking voice of this flame to the voice coming from a metal bull which was used to roast victims alive. The voice asks for news from earth.

Virgil gives Dante the right to answer. Dante says that there is no strife in Romagna; that Ravenna and Cervia have the same ruler; that another city is governed by the Green Claw; and that Cesena is suffering from misrule by its leaders.


(The entire section is 447 words.)

Dante's Inferno Canto 28 Summary and Analysis

New Characters
Sowers of Discord: Created discord on earth; their bodies are torn apart in Hell

Mahomet: Founder of Islam (Mohammed)

Pier da Medicina: Incited civil strife; disseminated scandal and misrepresentation; incited feuds between two Romagna families

Curio: Brought about civil strife; tongue removed for punishment

Mosca: Brought Florentine division by creating Guelphs and Ghibellines

Bertrand de Born: Headless shade who helped increase feud between Henry II of England and his young son Prince Henry

Dante is appalled at the suffering he sees from the bridge over the Ninth Bowge. He tries, in vain, to...

(The entire section is 729 words.)

Dante's Inferno Canto 29 Summary and Analysis

New Characters
Falsifiers: Punished in the Ninth Trench; victims of disease and illness

Capocchio: Student with Dante; an alchemist who called self an “ape of nature” because of his power to mimic or to produce a draught

Aretine: Griffolino d’Arezza; a physicist; took money for promising miracles; burned at stake for falsifying

Dante spends some time watching the people in the Ninth Bowge because he expects to see one of his kinsman, Geri del Bello; Virgil urges Dante to continue the trip immediately and think of other things. Virgil indicates that he saw Geri del Bello while Dante was watching one...

(The entire section is 325 words.)

Dante's Inferno Canto 30 Summary and Analysis

New Characters
Gianni Schicchi: Falsifier who dressed as Buoso and dictated a new will

Myrrha: According to Ovid disguised self and was impregnated by own father (King of Cyprus); turned into a myrtle tree and bore Adonis—a son—through the bark

Master Adam: Counterfeited Romena coins bearing John the Baptist

Guido, Alexander, and their Brother: Blamed for Adam’s counterfeiting; part of the Conti Guidi family

Sinon of Troy: Greek spy who persuaded the Trojans to bring the wooden horse into the gates of Troy

The False Wife: Reference to the wife of Potiphar (Book of Genesis); tries to lie with Joseph and, when he refuses, falsely accuses him...

(The entire section is 651 words.)

Dante's Inferno Canto 31 Summary and Analysis

New Characters
The Giants: Visible from the waist up above the rim of the well; include Nimrod (who loosed the bands of common speech), Ephialtes (who attacked Jove), and Antaeus (who is invincible on earth but not in the air or sky; carries Virgil and Dante to the pit bottom)

Dante speaks of Virgil’s tongue which had wounded him but now salves his wounds. As Dante and Virgil continue on their journey, they hear the clamor of those below them. Dante sees some towers and asks what they might be. Virgil says that the fog has changed Dante’s vision and kindly tells Dante that the pillars are giants set in a ring and hidden from...

(The entire section is 652 words.)

Dante's Inferno Canto 32 Summary and Analysis

New Characters
Napoleone and Alexandro degli Alberto: Two shades in Region i, Circle IX; brothers; slew one another in fight over family land

Sassol Mascheroni: In Region i, Circle IX; murdered uncle’s only son (Sassol’s cousin) and took the inheritance.

Camicion de’ Pazzi: Introduced shades to Dante in Region i, Circle IX; quick to identify other wrong-doers; less-likely to identify own wrongs; murdered Ubertino, his own kinsman

Dante has doubts about his ability to describe with words what he has seen in Hell. A new sight reaches his eyes in Region i of Circle IX. He sees a river, the river...

(The entire section is 747 words.)

Dante's Inferno Canto 33 Summary and Analysis

New Characters
Count Ugolino della Gherardesca: Guelph leader who ate human flesh; imprisoned in the Tower of Famine; saw sons and grandsons starve

Archbishop Ruggieri degli Ubaldini: Imprisoned Count Ugolino

Friar Alberigo: Soul in Patolomaea, where traitors to their guests reside

Ser Branca d’ Oria: Shade in Patolomaea responsible for murder

The shade who had eaten of the body of another person begins to speak to Dante. He tells Dante that he is Count Ugolino and that his victim is Archbishop Roger. In life he had trusted Roger, but Roger had betrayed him.

(An explanation of the...

(The entire section is 753 words.)

Dante's Inferno Canto 34 Summary and Analysis

New Characters
Dis (Satan): Ruler of the pit

Judas Iscariot: Resident of Region iv of Dis; betrayer of Jesus

Brutus: Later a Shakespearean character; opposed to the Divine and secular world; a resident of Dis

Cassius: Defeated by Anthony and took his own life; later a Shakespearean character; a resident of Dis

Canto XXXIV begins with the statement that “The banners of the King of Hell go forth.” Virgil asks Dante if it will be possible for Dante to recognize Dis (Satan) if they see him. The two pass over Judecca.

Dante sees Satan in Region iv, Dis. Satan is devouring Judas...

(The entire section is 366 words.)

Dante's Inferno Bibliography and Further Reading

Some quotations from Dante's Inferno were taken from the following translation: The Comedy of Dante Alighieri: Cantica I: Hell. Translated by Dorothy L. Sayers. New York: Penguin Books, 1949. In addition, Sayer's introduction was indispensable to this study.

Anderson, William. Dante the Maker. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1980.

Auerbach, Erich. Dante: Poet of the Secular World. Translated by R. Manheim. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1961.

Ayearst, Morley. "Divine Comedy." Merit Students Encyclopedia. Chicago: Crowell-Collier Educational Corp., 1969, p. 28.

Bergin, Thomas. "Dante...

(The entire section is 331 words.)