Canto 9 Summary

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Last Updated February 28, 2023.

Dante becomes discouraged when Virgil is turned away from the City of Dis, and even Virgil appears pale and disheartened. Dante asks Virgil if he has ever journeyed to the City of Dis before; Virgil responds by recounting a previous trip he took at the behest of a witch named Erichtho. During that journey, Virgil's mission was to retrieve a soul from the circle of Judas in the depths of Hell. However, Dante's attention lingers on the fiery, scorching walls of the tower, so he struggles to listen attentively to Virgil's words.

As Virgil tells his story, Dante’s gaze is fixed upon the tower. Staring at its looming peak, he discerns the terrifying forms of the three Furies: Alecto, Magaera, and Tisiphone. The fearsome sisters warn the pair that they plan to summon Medusa to transform them both into stone. To comfort Dante, Virgil quickly redirects his attention and reminds him to avert his gaze lest Medusa makes an appearance.

Following a gust of strong wind, a divine being descends from the heavens to provide the duo with the necessary assistance. The spirit reprimands the Furies and reminds them of the consequences Cerberus faced when he attempted to rebel. The thought of his punishment and the scares he now bears subdue them, and they leave the pair in peace. 

After their heavenly assistant leaves, Virgil and Dante proceed onward. They observe that the stone gravestones covering the abundance of graves littering the region were removed; the souls trapped within the now-open tombs express their anguish through audible sighs that echo through the plain. Additionally, flames gush forth from the graves, adding to the ominous atmosphere.

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Canto 8 Summary

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