Canto 22 Summary
Last Updated on March 1, 2023, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 187
Dante acknowledges that not one of the multitudinous experiences he encountered in his life can compare to the journey on which he is about to embark.
Pondering the horrors he has witnessed, Dante passively watches as sinners leap into a boiling cauldron to avoid the demons' fury. However, one spirit refuses to submerge himself into the scalding waters and is caught by a demon. This soul hails from Navarre and shares his life story with Dante. After finishing his account, the demons torment the shade.
The spirit describes the presence of two other individuals—Fra Gomita and Don Michael Zanche—who reside in the same pit as him. The soul strikes a bargain with the demons, promising to bring back seven souls as substitutes in exchange for his own release. The demons warn him of dire consequences if he fails to meet their demand. Taking advantage of the demons' momentary distraction, the soul plunges into the pit.
The soul's deceit causes the demons to engage in a dispute with each other. As they bicker, become agitated, and brawl amongst themselves, Dante and Virgil manage to escape unnoticed.