Canto 18 Summary

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Last Updated March 1, 2023.

Dante describes the region of hell known as the Malbowges, or Evil Pockets, explaining that it is a  cone-shaped region made of gray stone and divided into ten sections; in the center of the Malbowges is a well. Dante explains how the movement of souls is regulated in this area: on one side, souls keep their eyes on the Castle (which might be the Castle on the road called Castello Sant'Angelo), while on the other side, they keep their eyes on the Mount (perhaps the mountain called Janiculum).

As he and Virgil traverse these lower regions, Dante sees a large group of naked sinners moving around erratically, as they are whipped and directed by horned demons. The group seems to be divided into two subsections: one group is made up of panderers, and the other group consists of seducers. Among them, Dante recognizes two sinners, Venedico Caccianemico and Jason, who suffer in their respective groups.

Dante looks down into a deep trench dug into the earth and notices dozens of people immersed in the dirt. He recognizes one, Alessio Interminei, a former citizen of Lucca; he tells Dante that he was condemned to eternity in the dirt because he was guilty of flattering people. Virgil also recognizes Thais, the prostitute, among the people in the trench. Both are damned to the pit for the sins of flattery and false words. 

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