Dante's Inferno Canto 3 Questions and Answers

Dante Alighieri

Canto 3 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. What was Dante’s first reaction to the wailing?

2. To what does Dante compare the worry that the uncommitted might be missing something?

3. What is the name of the river which circles the rim of Hell?

4. What was the name of the ferryman?

5. Who were the cowards in Canto III?

6. The river’s name is translated as “joyous.” Why is this a good name for the river?

7. The uncommitted had saved their blood all their lives. What was the ultimate result of this act?

8. What is Dante’s initial reaction to the many souls he sees in the Vestibule of Hell?

9. Who are the cowards whom Dante describes?

10. What is Dante’s reaction to the sights and sounds of Hell at the end of Canto III?

Answers
1. Dante cried when he heard the sound of the wailing.

2. Dante compared the worry that the uncommitted might be missing something to the sting of wasps and bees.

3. The river was the Acheron.

4. The ferryman was named Charon.

5. The cowards are those who were afraid to make a decision.

6. The river could bring joy because it takes the dead to an area where they have made a conscious decision to travel.

7. They now find their blood spilled by wasps and hornets and drunk by worms.

8. Dante is surprised at their numbers; he had no idea so many had died or that so many had died uncommitted.

9. The cowards that Dante describes are the people who were not brave enough to make a decision one way or the other.

10. Dante is frightened and falls into a swoon.