Dante’s Inferno Short Summary
Dante Alighieri is a poet and a pilgrim who embarks on an intense spiritual journey through the nine circles of hell under the guise of Virgil’s soul. Virgil is another Roman poet. There, he witnesses the eternal repercussions faced by souls of those who died in sin.
An Overview of the Plot
Inferno begins on Good Friday back in 1300 A.D. Dante is journeying through the dark wood and has lost his way. The mountain above him is illuminated by sunshine. Upon attempting to climb, he meets three beasts. Dante fearfully retreats into the dark wood where Virgil’s ghost meets him. Virgil intends to guide him back to the mountaintop. He claims that Beatrice and two holy women sent him to assist him in finding his way and that they will traverse through hell before finally reaching heaven.
At the onset of the journey, they go through the first circle known as limbo. All the good people who were non-believers end up there. Their punishment is to chase a blank banner eternally. In the second circle, the lustful souls circle a storm without ever finding peace. The third circle punishes the gluttonous whereby they lie deep in mud and feces fall on them. The fourth circle has those guilty of avarice & prodigality are pushing heavy weights eternally.
In the fifth circle, the wrathful and sullen are eternally pushing heavyweights. The sixth circle is where heretics get burned within tombs. The 7th circle has three rings. They are as follows:
- 1st ring- those violent to others boil in blood
- 2nd ring- those violent to self are suffering in the form of trees constantly plucked while dogs eternally chase the profligate.
- 3rd ring- those violent towards Christianity or nature burn alive in a fire falling like rain.
Dante and Virgil finally arrive at the 8th circle. It is separated into ten bolgias with each representing a specific type of fraud. Finally, they reach the 90th circle that houses the treacherous, all covered in ice to the neck. There are four rounds therein:
- Round 1- murderers
- Round 2- the treasonous
- Round 3- betrayers of guests
- Round 4- betrayers of their masters
Lucifer’s three separate mouths are munching Judas, Brutus, and Cassius, the biggest traitors in history.
The pair gets out of hell though climbing Lucifer’s frozen strand of hair, making their way across the river of forgetfulness (Lethe) and come back to earth to find that it is Easter morning.