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Inferno and Man

Updated on August 31, 2019

"The Vestibule of Hell"

"The Vestibule of Hell" is the title of Inferno's Canto III. It is an excerpt from the epic poem written by Dante Alighieri, Divina Comedia (The Divine Comedy).


Here, Dante was with Virgil, that famous Roman poet. They were by the gates of Hell and they read the inscription that includes "Abandon all hope, you who enter here". Dante did not understand what it means so he asked Virgil but the latter did not reply to his query. Instead, he told him to be brave. He also told Dante that the souls they would see as they enter the gates were the souls who have 'lost the good of the intellect'. Dante only understood what it meant when he saw how the souls were being punished.


Virgil said, it was the Limbo. The souls here were those who did not choose between the good and the bad when they were still alive. They were called the neuters. The coward angels were also in this place in hell. Even the pagans and those who were not baptized were also here.


They did not talk much about these souls. They hurried across and saw a pile of souls by the riverbanks. The river is called the River of Acharon. The souls were the people who committed sins when they were still alive. They were waiting for the boat that would bring them to another circle of Hell.


Moments later, the boat showed up. On it was the ferryman, Charon. He got mad when he saw Dante. He said he could not get into his boat because he was still alive. But Virgil was there and he said that Dante was there because it was the will. So, Charon could not argue more. He had no choice but to let Dante rude the boat. When they were on their way across the waters, there was an earthquake and a tornado. Dante was so afraid that he passed out.


That was the end of Canto III.



Source

The Circles of Hell

Other than the Limbo (First circle of hell), there are other circles of Hell. It depends on what sin is committed by man when he was still alive.

The Second Circle of Hell is LUST. Obviously, those who thought of lustful things and did the same things when they were still alive were brought on this circle. The punishment is their bodies are blown by a very violent storm without rest.


The Third Circle of Hell is GLUTTONY. This is where all the gluttons go after they die. Their punishment is to lie in vile and freezing slush which is guarded by Cerberus, the three-headed dog.


The Fourth Circle is AVARICE and PRODIGALITY. This is were the greedy goes. The people who loved money that either they keep it instead of sharing and helping others or spend it like there is no tomorrow. Their punishment is they have to push heavy weights (in circle) on different directions until they crash and repeat the process.


The Fifth Circle is WRATH and SULLENNESS. The wrathful fight against each other on the surface of Styx while the sullen gurgle beneath it.


The Sixth Circle of Hell is HERESY. This is for people who contradict with what is taught by the religious group or the dogma. The heretics are trapped in flaming tombs.


The Seventh Circle of Hell is called VIOLENCE. This is for the people who committed suicide, and blasphemy. This is also for the sodomites and the usurers. Those who inflicted violence against other people are put on a boiling river of blood and fire. Those who committed suicide are transformed into trees and they are eaten by Harpies, clawed birds with faces of women. The sodomites, the blasphemers, and the usurers are put in the Plain of Burning Sand where flakes of fire slowly comes down from the sky.


The Eight Circle of Hell is FRAUD. The seducers are being whipped by horned demons for eternity. The flatterers are steeped on feces as they fight against each other. The sorcerers are punished by twisting their heads around their bodies and they are compelled to walk backwards for eternity in this contortion. The corrupt politicians are placed in a lake of boiling pitch which is guarded by demons who tear them to pieces when they are seen on top of the pitch.


The Ninth Circle of Hell is TREACHERY. The betrayers of special relationships are frozen in a lake of ice with only their heads shown in the surface. Some can bend their neck to protect them from the freezing wind but the others cannot bend their necks. This depends on the kind of relationship they had betrayed when they were still alive.


Reflection

Having read all these from the works of Dante Alighieri, one cannot help but think about how he lives his life. Looking back, assessing oneself regarding the sins he had committed.


No one can really tell what is going to happen after we die. But it is not bad to have something to believe in; something that will guide us in our everyday living and keep us on guard to the actions that we are going to make.


Faith in God, that is the best weapon to keep ourselves from being afraid of the thoughts of these circles of hell and the punishment that we will receive after death.

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