Last Updated March 1, 2023.
When Virgil releases Ulysses, another shade appears in his place and begins to speak. Dante likens the sound of this soul’s voice to that of a metal bull, a historic torture method used to slowly and agonizingly cook people alive, and describes his appearance, which is obscured by flame. The voice from the flame then inquires about the current state of things.
Virgil permits Dante to respond, and he reports that there is no conflict in Romagna and that Ravenna and Cervia share the same ruler. He also mentions that a different city is ruled by the Green Claw and that Cesena is currently experiencing poor governance from its leaders. As he makes his report, he requests that the flame reveal its identity.
The flame agrees to tell the truth, comforted by the incorrect assumption that Dante will not be able to return to the living world. The shade explains that he was once a soldier and later became a friar. However, he was compelled to return to the battlefield by his superiors and fight for God in the Holy Land; he was told that he would be absolved for his sins but unfortunately died before he had the chance to repent for his actions and was condemned to Hell.
Walking through the landscape of burning souls, the two travelers observe that individuals who sow discord during their lifetimes receive fair treatment in death.