Dante's Inferno: Circle 8, Bolgia 10: The Falsefiers:

Introduction:

As Dante makes his way out of the Ninth Bolgia of Circle 8 (which is largely made up of those who committed some sort of fraud) towards the Tenth Bolgia, he lingers in hope that he will see a former friend and cousin of his father, Geri Del Bello, but Virgil forces him along, telling him that they are running out of time. Dante and Virgil enter the last Bolgia of the Eighth Circle, home of The Falsefiers. The Falsefiers are divided into four subgroups: the first class encompasses the Alchemists, which leaves the Evil Impersonators, Counterfeiters, and False Witnesses in the remaining classes.

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Characters:

The falsefiers are considered by Dante to be a "disease" to society, so they are all inflicted by some sort of disease or affliction as their punishment in Hell.
-Griffolino D'arezzo was an alchemist who convinced a man to give him large amounts of money in return for flying lessons . When the other man realized that he would not, in fact, be able to fly and would not be given his money back, he had D'arezzo burned as a sorcerer. Dante, however, chooses not to punish D'arezzo as a sorcerer, but rather punishes him for the falsification of gold and money.
-Capocchio was supposedly a friend of Dante's (another example of someone whom Dante respected yet placed in Hell) who was accused of alchemy and was therefore burned at the stake.
-Gianni Schicchi & Myrrha are the evil impersonators that Dante meets in Hell; Gianna Schicchi was persuaded to impersonate Buoso di Donati in order to write a will that would favor both he and Donati's son. Myrrha was the daughter of Cinyras, King of Cyprus; she disguised herself out of passion for her father and after the two engaged in sexual relations, he discovered who she really was and threatened to kill her, so she disguised herself once more as a plant.

-Master Adam was a counterfeiter who is now punished by having eternal thirst, a punishment much like those who the Greeks believed to be punished in Tartarus.
-Sinon the Greek was a falsefier of words; he was a Greek warrior who, during the Trojan War, convinced the Trojans that he had betrayed the Greeks and that the giant wooden horse left behind by the Greeks was a gift. Sinon was part of the downfall of Troy.


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Summary:

As Dante walks with Virgil through Circle 8, he begins to see that for the most part, the puishments worsen as the levels of Hell progress; remember that he first noticed this as soon as they left Limbo ("I pass from light into the kingdom of eternal night" (154-155)). In Bolgia 10, the punishments of the sinners focus on disease, simply because the people in Bolgia 10 were diseases to society. Those eternally tormented in Bolgia 10 of Malebolge (the term for Circle 8) run screaming at one another, while clawing themselves and each other. Some are tormented by diseases on their skin, including scabs that are ripped open repeatedly by the aformentioned clawing. The inhabitants of this Bolgia are infected with rashes, leprosy, and swollen limbs. As was mentioned in the description of the characters, some of the souls are tormented further (by thirst, etc).
Dante and Virgil meet many of those tortured in Bolgia 10; when Master Adam tells Dante that Sinon the Greek is also present in this circle of Hell, Sinon becomes infuriated, and the two begin insulting and attacking each other. Dante eggs the two on in their disagreement (another sign that Dante is becoming less compassionate for the sinners as he ventures deeper into Hell) until Virgil becomes angry with his lack of compassion. Dante apologizes, and is instantly forgiven by Virgil due to the actual remorse he felt. The two walk on out of Malebolge where Giants gaurd the edge and continue on into the deepest circle of Hell.