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Canto 17 Summary and Analysis

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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 Dante to talk with this unhappy lot. Dante notes that about their necks are purses; their eyes are fixed on these objects and on the ground. As they cry, one speaks to Dante. He tells how the Florentines kept shouting for a knight with a satchel bearing three goats. Dante, fearing to keep his host too long, rushes back to Virgil.

Virgil tells Dante to take courage while they mount Geryon, which they must ride to the...

(The entire section is 371 words.)