Canto 8 Summary

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Last Updated February 28, 2023.

From the tower, Dante and Virgil spot two glimmers of light, and in response, two distant lights twinkle back. Soon, the furious oarsman Phlegyas arrives, expressing his displeasure with Dante and Virgil's status as mere visitors rather than permanent inhabitants of the area.

As Phlegyas rows, a soul in the mud grasps at the boat, and Dante exhibits intense fury and disdain toward the man, whom he appears to recognize. Virgil praises Dante for his contempt toward the shade and comments positively on Dante’s behavior.

Virgil explains that they are headed toward the entrance to the City of Dis, which is located in the depths of Hell. The city houses those guilty of the most severe sins and exacts harsh punishments upon its inhabitants. As they reach the gates, a guard rudely shuts the gates and tells Virgil that they are not permitted to enter. Enraged and unable to secure their passage into the city, Virgil calls out for assistance.

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