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Bolgia 1 -- Panderers and Seducers
Bolgia 10 -- Falsefiers
Bolgia 2 -- Flatterers
Bolgia 3 -- Simoniacs
Bolgia 4 -- Fortunetellers
Bolgia 5 -- Grafters
Bolgia 6 -- Hypocrites
Bolgia 7 -- Thieves
Bolgia 8 -- Evil Counsellors
Bolgia 9 -- Sowers of Discord
Circle I - Limbo - The Virtuous Pagans
Circle II - The Carnal
Circle III -- The Gluttons
Circle IV -- The Hoarders and Wasters
Circle V -- The Wrathful and the Sullen
Circle VI -- The Heretics
Part 1 -- Caina -- Traitors to Kin
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Circle I - Limbo - The Virtuous Pagans
Canto IV: Circe One
"ABANDON ALL HOPE, YOU WHO ENTER HERE."
border of hell or heaven,serving
as the abode
after deathof unbaptized infants
or righteous souls,
hose of infants or virtuous individuals who lived before the coming of Christ.
, technically the first circle of Hell, the virtuous pagans reside. By location, Limbo is on the border of Hell, across the
. Upon their arrival, the poets see a funnel shaped cave, digging deep down into the Earth. The funnel itself is composed of rings, each designated for a specific sin. The virtuous pagans are not actual sinners, but simply deprived of
. Unlike other residents of Hell, the virtuous pagans are not tormented. Instead, they are eternally damned to an existence with
of escaping, due to an absense of any transgressions. The greatest poets of all time have been damned here, including Homer, Horace, Ovid, Lucan, and Dante's tourguide, Virgil. At the end of his tour through Limbo, Dante sees the
of Pagan Antiquity in thew Citadel of Human Reason. These souls have reached the
highest attainable state that man is able to reach
without being deities themselves. Dante knows that God is
greater than anything he had seen
thus far, but cannot help being
First and foremost comes
: Dante plays two important roles in
. Not only is he the writer of the epic, but the principal character as well. However, the two are not necessarily one in the same. As a writer, Dante has the ability to pick and choose the hopeless inhabitants of
. This makes the book very subjective. Most notably, Dante has placed certain leaders throughout Hell, without ever mentioning people of the same endeavors from
, Dante's home country. As a character, Dante appears to be rather objective on his journey through Hell.
is Dante's official tourguide of the underworld: He was a Roman poet, most famous for the
. He was influenced by Homer, who inspired him to write the
in epic form. He still has a heavy influence today, w
ith some of his famous quotes such as "Omnia vincit amor", or "Love conquers all" remaining highly
serves to show Dante the ropes of Hell.
The virtuous pagans: These people make up Dante's Limbo, not quite Hell, but certainly far from Heaven. The only thing that these
poor, unfortunate souls
had done wrong was not accept Christ in their lives, or possibly be
. Interestingly enough, many characters from the
and mostly the Old Testament itself
were at one point featured in Limbo, according to Virgil. At some point or another,
were all residents of Limbo, until the death of Jesus when they were released to Heaven.
In addition to poets, Dante includes famous and prominent philosophers in his classification of Limbo. This would include
. The fact that Dante includes them in his writing may show
and fellow admiration.
are included in this first circle of Hell. They reside with the
inside a large
with seven walls.
are used throughout Dante's Inferno. One example is when Dante and Virgil approach the Citadel of Human Reason. There, referring to the inhabinants, he says ""There with a solemn and
stood many people gathered in the light," (112-113). This shows that human reason is a good thing, but upon leaving Limbo and
into the deeper circles of hell, Dante says, "I pass from light into the
of eternal night" (154-155), showing the deeper they go, the worse the sin that has been committed.
The first major allusion in Canto IV regards the "
Harrowing of Hell
", or, the descent of
after his death. According to the
Roman Catholic church
, Christ first descended into Limbo before gracing Heaven with his
. The word "harrow" implies that Christ's
from Hell to Heaven was a rather
one, even accusing him of freeing certain souls from Hell, including
Adam and Eve
. Catholics believe that Christ's
of Hell was astounding, which eventually turned the story into a bit of a
in the mid-thirteenth century.
A second allusion that is worthy of mentioning would be the large reference to the philosopher, Aristotle. Given Dante's background historically and culturally, this allusion should not come as a surprise.
of those who know" (131) is
from Dante's writing referring to Aristotle and his works. This shows that Dante views this man with
and respect. Supporting this idea would be the fact that Dante calls Aristotle "
" even though he mentions numerous other philosophers in his novel.
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