Canto 3 Summary

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Last Updated February 28, 2023.

Dante and Virgil enter Hell through the broad gates, where they read the warning inscription: "Abandon hope, all ye who enter here." They proceed to the Vestibule of Hell, where they encounter those who were solely true to themselves in their past lives. Although these individuals were not rebellious towards God, they were also not devoted to Him during their time on earth. They appear to be in a constant state of restlessness, unable to make any decisions. Additionally, they are tormented by the stings and bites of hornets and wasps, which cause their faces to bleed. Worms feed on their blood as it falls to the ground.

Dante and Virgil come across a boat rowed by an elderly, white-haired man. The ferryman, who is responsible for ferrying souls across the Acheron River, cautions them that once someone crosses the river, they cannot return. However, Virgil explains that a powerful entity has made an exception. When Dante hears the sound of the wind and observes the perilous waters beneath them, he faints.

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