Inferno

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Virgil Character Analysis

Virgil was the greatest and most famous poet of ancient Rome, revered by Dante and other medieval readers. In Dante's poem, he is a noble, virtuous pagan who guides Dante through hell, often identifying famous sinners. He comforts Dante when he is frightened and chastises him when he shows too much pity for sinners or lingers too long in parts of hell. Virgil is a pious character admired by Dante, but since he is ultimately still pagan, he must dwell with the other good pagans in Limbo.

Virgil Quotes in Inferno

The Inferno quotes below are all either spoken by Virgil or refer to Virgil. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Sin, Justice, Pity and Piety Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Penguin Classics edition of Inferno published in 1950.
Canto 1 Quotes

Canst thou be Virgil? Thou that fount of splendour
Whence poured so wide a stream of lordly speech?

Related Characters: Dante (speaker), Virgil
Page Number: 1.79-80
Explanation and Analysis:

After being thwarted by several animals, Dante glimpses the shade of Virgil, who will become his guide. Dante then goes on to praise Virgil for his poetic prowess.

This interaction is the first of many in which Dante will seek to recognize a historical figure he encounters in the Inferno. Phrasing his greeting as a question—“Canst thou be Virgil?”—implies a certain surprise and indicates that the identifications will not always be automatic. Dante then clarifies his surprise by recalling the reason for Virgil’s fame. He uses the metaphor of a fountain spurting water to relate to Virgil’s creation of language. So as a renowned Roman poet, he is a “fount of splendour” for his ability to produce excellent verse—which is deemed a “stream of lordly speech.” The water imagery highlights the bountiful and rejuvenating quality of Virgil’s verse and foreshadows how Dante will be guided by it along the various bodies of water in the Divine Comedy.

That Dante (the writer) has selected Virgil to be his guide is highly significant. Beyond conveying his personal preference for Virgil's poetry, Dante has made the daring choice of selecting a pagan guide through a Christian landscape. He could well have chosen the figure to be Jesus or another Christian figure, but instead he selects a famed Roman poet. Such a choice reveals the relative importance of classical art even within the confines of a Christian society and poem. Dante has positioned his own work within a famed classical lineage, demonstrating that the text may be theological in nature but that it draws on a Greek and Roman heritage.

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For the Emperor of that high Imperium
Wills not that I, once rebel to His crown,
Into that city of His should lead men home.

Related Characters: Virgil (speaker)
Page Number: 1.124-126
Explanation and Analysis:

Virgil lays out the route that Dante will take, first through Hell and then ascending toward Heaven. He notes that another spirit will have to play the role of the guide later, because Virgil is not permitted in heaven.

Dante cleverly introduces the pagan backstory of his guide Virgil with the reference to “once rebel to His crown.” As a result, God—deemed “Emperor of that high Imperium”—has demanded that he not be allowed to enter heaven. This pronouncement fits with the general tenants of Christianity, which would relegate non-believers to Hell. (And, according to the Christianity of Dante's time, all people born before Christ's resurrection--like Virgil--must automatically go to Hell as well.) Despite having evidently renounced his earlier credences and come to adopt some form of Christianity, Virgil is still barred from “that city of His”: heaven. As a result, he will only play the role of the guide in the Inferno and most of Purgatory, after which Dante must be brought “home” by someone else.

This passage sets the limits in how prominent of a role figures like Virgil could play in Dante’s work. As pagans, they could never have access to any realm beyond Hell—but Dante was able to humanize them and give them important roles within those confines. His text can thus be seen as a complicated negotiation between affirming the merits of classical artists and philosophers and confirming the rightness of his own Christian dogma.

In some interpretations, Virgil is also seen to represent reason and human talent, which, in the allegory of the poem, can only take one so far. At some point, even one with the reason and skill of Virgil must take a leap of faith and hand his life over to God (or, in the poem, to God's representative Beatrice, who leads Dante to Heaven itself).

Canto 4 Quotes

They sinned not; yet their merit lacked its chiefest
Fulfillment, lacking baptism, which is
The gateway to the faith which thou believest;

Or, living before Christendom, their knees
Paid not aright those tributes that belong
To God; and I myself am one of these.

Related Characters: Virgil (speaker), Homer, Horace, Ovid, and Lucan
Page Number: 4.34-39
Explanation and Analysis:

Dante has now entered the first circle of Hell: Limbo. Virgil explains to him that those present in Limbo have not actually sinned, but since they were never baptized, they cannot ascend to heaven.

This passage develops the complex theme of how to contend with classical artists and philosophers whose works and lives are admirable. For being technically pagan, they cannot be sanctified in a dogmatic religious work like Dante’s. Virgil affirms “their merit”—which refers to their various artistic accomplishments—yet saying that their merit “lacked its chiefest fulfillment, lacking baptism” implies that their works would never reach their complete potential due to their spiritual flaws. Dante thus subtly canonizes these figures, while also leaving them sufficiently defective to appeal to a Christian audience.

Virgil clarifies, too, that this fate befalls both those who live during Christianity but were never baptized, as well as those who predated “Christendom.” Thus Limbo becomes a place for people who could not have reasonably ever been baptized or believed in the “proper” religion—who failed to do so through no personal fault of their own, but rather because their era did not allow them to do so (whether because they lived before Christ, or died as babies, or, presumably, lived in countries where Christianity did not yet exist). In acknowledging that he himself fits into this category, Virgil further clarifies why he may play Dante’s guide here but can ultimately never enter heaven. That the text’s guide is himself morally implicated here serves to generate sympathy for those who reside in Limbo—a technique that will be used in many of the ensuing circles.

Canto 11 Quotes

Of all malicious wrong that earns Heaven's hate
The end is injury; all such ends are won
Either by force or fraud. Both perpetrate

Evil to others; but since man alone
Is capable of fraud, God hates that worst;
The fraudulent lie lowest, then, and groan

Deepest. Of these three circles, all the first
Holds violent men; but as threefold may be
Their victims, in three rings they are dispersed.

[...] the second circle opens to receive

Hypocrites, flatterers, dealers in sorcery,
Panders and cheats, and all such filthy stuff,
With theft, and simony and barratry.

[...] in the smallest circle, that dark spot,
Core of the universe and throne of Dis,
The traitors lie.

Related Characters: Virgil (speaker)
Page Number: 11.22-66
Explanation and Analysis:

While Dante and Virgil are becoming accustomed to the smell of the lower circles of Hell, Virgil explains its geography. He delineates the different regions inhabited by traitors, liars, and perpetrators of violence.

This passage portrays how minutely structured Hell is in the Divine Comedy. In other religious representations, it is often presented as a undifferentiated space in which sinners of all types mingle. Yet here Hell is rigorously categorized: each person is slotted into the area appropriate for their sin, and each punishment is meted our accordingly. Though Virgil outlines some universal features—“the end is injury” in all cases—he explains that God finds some sins more despicable than others. That he “hates that worst” of fraud shows, again, how hate and love underlie God’s various judgments. The rigid structure of hell thus derives not from any artificial plan but rather from the emotional associations formed by God.

The specific order that Virgil outlines here is worth considering: though some contemporary readers might find violence to be the most disreputable and thus most punishable act, Dante locates “traitors” at the deepest level of hell. Those who are fraudulent or have lied in various ways are also deemed worse than those who have committed violent acts. Thus the text establishes a moral framework that does not emphasize the external horror of an act, but rather finds more fault with internal actions of treachery and deceit: these do not simply deny love, but actually pervert it to horrifying ends.

Canto 20 Quotes

Because he tried to see too far ahead,
He now looks backward and goes retrograde.

Related Characters: Virgil (speaker), Amphiaraus, Tiresias, and Manto
Page Number: 20.38-39
Explanation and Analysis:

In the fourth trench of the eighth circle, Virgil and Dante encounter the Greek oracle Amphiaraus. Virgil explains how his punishment was given to correspond to the exact nature of his scene: trying to see too far into the future.

This moment is a classic example of the “contrapasso” logic that undergirds much of the Inferno. “Contrapasso” is a Latin term for “suffer the opposite,” and Dante repeatedly portrays sinners to be experiencing inversions of what they did to spite God on earth. Here, Amphiaraus’ sin was to “see too far ahead,” or to prophesy beyond his appropriate role as a mortal. And therefore, he must suffer the opposite: see “backward” and “retrograde.” Contrapasso often takes, as it does here, a metaphorical sin and makes its inversion literal: for Amphiaraus, the abstract idea of seeing forward is made literal in that he physically looks backward. The importance of these scenes is to show how rigidly structured Hell is—that is to say how minutely and perfectly God has planned it out. In this way, Dante shows its composition to be inherently just, while also insulating himself from critiques that something would be flawed in his conception of the Inferno.

Canto 24 Quotes

Put off this sloth [...]
Sitting on feather-pillows, lying reclined
Beneath the blanket is no way to fame—

Fame, without which man's life wastes out of mind,
Leaving on earth no more memorial
Than foam in water or smoke upon the wind.

Related Characters: Virgil (speaker), Dante
Page Number: 24.46-51
Explanation and Analysis:

Dante and Virgil climb an arduous set of rocks, which winds the speaker. Virgil scolds him in response and reminds him of the dangers of laziness.

Virgil returns to the complicated theme of fame in the Divine Comedy, here linking it to the value of active work. He likens the physical “sloth” of Dante in the moment to the broader sins of sloth: this would be practiced by those who would simply be “sitting on feather-pillows” instead of pursuing any true end. Though Virgil could have finished his reproach by noting how sloth is a sin in the eyes of God, he instead links it to notoriety, pointing out that “fame” will require active effort on Dante’s part.

Thus Virgil further valorizes the importance of being famous on earth after one’s death, because it will grant a type of immortality. With the metaphor of “foam in water or smoke upon the wind,” Virgil summons two poetic images of ephemerality—to which he juxtaposes the potential sturdy immortality granted by “fame.” Dante thus presents his journey through hell and the corresponding task of writing the Divine Comedy to be intensely arduous, but also to be his way to leave a “memorial” upon the earth that will outlast his life (while, at the same time, condemning the excessive desire for earthly fame).

Canto 26 Quotes

Tormented there [...] Ulysses goes
With Diomede, for as they ran one course,
Sharing their wrath, they share the avenging throes.

Related Characters: Virgil (speaker), Ulysses, Diomedes
Page Number: 26.55-57
Explanation and Analysis:

Virgil informs Dante about the fates of two souls hiding beneath a split-flame. Ulysses and Diomede, he explains, are being punished for having stolen the palladium of Troy.

As he did in Limbo, Dante here incorporates classical figures and references into his own work. Instead of denying the importance of pagan figures in a Christian worldview, he finds a way to include them within the poem’s religious and artistic framework. This strategy is particularly effective when applied to the characters of Ulysses and Diomede, who are featured in the two most important classical Greek epics: the Iliad and the Odyssey. Both texts feature the underworld as a prominent location, but it functions radically differently from Dante’s. In Homer’s works, Ulysses is treated as a hero both above and below ground. Thus Dante has actually rewritten Homer’s narrative, which was in fact praised many Cantos before in Limbo. In this way, Dante is able to set his text in conversation with classical figures, but also rise above them by claiming the moral high ground of his Christian associations.

Canto 31 Quotes

That's Nimrod, by whose fault the gracious bands
Of common speech throughout the world were loosed.

We'll waste no words, but leave him where he stands,
For all speech is to him as is to all
That jargon of his which no one understands.

Related Characters: Virgil (speaker), Nimrod
Page Number: 31.77-81
Explanation and Analysis:

When Virgil and Dante encounter the figure of Nimrod, Virgil offers this poignant commentary on the nature of communication. He observes that their language will be incomprehensible to Nimrod, just as his language is incomprehensible to them.

To Nimrod, Virgil attributes the origin “of common speech,” which is deemed a perversion compared to the singular language of God. Nimrod was responsible for this because he built the tower of Babel, which fractured the one language of humanity into many (according to the Old Testament story). That, as a result,he  would be unable to understand Dante and Virgil implies that their language is fundamentally different and ordained by God. Furthermore, Virgil sets a high value on the importance of their language, for they should “waste no words” when they need not to. The implication is that Dante’s language—as it appears in the poem itself—is highly valuable and should only be passed to those who deserve to hear it.

The question of common versus holy speech is particularly significant in Dante’s work. Dante wrote the Divine Comedy in Italian instead of the traditional Latin, which was otherwise seen as a holy language. Thus when Virgil says that they are indeed speaking a language that evades “jargon” and that comes from God, as opposed to Nimrod, he is inherently saying that Dante’s Italian is on equal footing with Latin.

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Virgil Character Timeline in Inferno

The timeline below shows where the character Virgil appears in Inferno. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Canto 1
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...it is a man or a ghost. The figure identifies himself as the shade of Virgil, the greatest poet of ancient Rome. Dante is awe-struck and impressed, calling Virgil his master. (full context)
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Dante tells Virgil about how he was turned back from ascending the mountain by wild beasts, and Virgil... (full context)
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Virgil says he will guide Dante on his journey. He says Dante will go through a... (full context)
Canto 2
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Virgil chides Dante, telling him his anxieties arise from mere cowardice, which constantly "lays ambushes for... (full context)
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Virgil immediately agreed to help Beatrice, but asked her how she could know the way to... (full context)
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Virgil thus immediately sought out Dante after Beatrice visited him, and saved him from the wolf.... (full context)
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...resolved to begin his journey. He starts on the path, following behind his trusty guide Virgil. (full context)
Canto 3
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Dante and Virgil arrive at the gate of hell. Above the gate, there is an inscription on the... (full context)
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...they enter hell, Dante hears shrieks, shouts, screams, and lamentations filling the air. He asks Virgil who these suffering people are, and Virgil replies that they are people who were neither... (full context)
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...ferry across a living man. He tells Dante that this is not his path. But Virgil tells Charon that it is God's will for Dante to pass through hell while living.... (full context)
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Virgil tells Dante that these souls are all the people who have died under God's wrath,... (full context)
Canto 4
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Dante sees that Virgil is pale, and asks how he can be expected to go through hell, when even... (full context)
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Dante hears not loud, suffering groans, but constant sighing. Virgil tells him that the souls in this first circle did not sin, but instead were... (full context)
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Virgil identifies some of the souls for Dante: Homer and the Roman poets Horace, Ovid, and... (full context)
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...by walls. The group passes through the castle's gate and walks along a green meadow. Virgil points out to him a number of famous people from classical mythology and history: Electra,... (full context)
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...cannot list all that he saw, since "The wondrous truth outstrips my staggering pen," (4.147). Virgil and Dante leave the other poets behind, and move on further into hell, where there... (full context)
Canto 5
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Dante and Virgil descend to the second circle of hell, where there is more suffering and screaming. Dante... (full context)
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Minos sees the living Dante and stops him, but Virgil tells Minos that Dante is fated and willed by God to pass by, and that... (full context)
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Dante asks Virgil to identify some of the souls. Dante points out the Mistress of Babel, who legitimized... (full context)
Canto 6
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When Cerberus sees Dante and Virgil coming, Virgil scoops up several handfuls of dirt and throws some in each of the... (full context)
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Virgil tells Dante that when the final judgment comes, these souls will be reunited with their... (full context)
Canto 7
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At the entrance to the fourth circle of hell, Dante and Virgil encounter Pluto (the underworld deity associated with wealth in Roman mythology), who is hailing Satan.... (full context)
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...the souls ceaselessly rushing into each other to waves crashing against each other. Dante asks Virgil who these souls are. Noticing that many of them have bald heads, he asks if... (full context)
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Virgil says that half of the souls were spendthrifts on earth, while the other half—with bald... (full context)
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Dante asks Virgil to tell him more about the nature of Fortune. According to Virgil, God established Fortune... (full context)
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Dante and Virgil walk along a dark, bubbling body of water and the marsh which forms at the... (full context)
Canto 8
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...a beacon far off flicker as if answering the lights on the tower. He asks Virgil what the lights mean, and Virgil says that the lights are signaling their arrival, and... (full context)
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As Dante and Virgil ride through the marshy Styx, a soul sits up through the grime and asks Dante... (full context)
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Virgil tells Dante that this spirit was arrogant on earth and that, "Many who strut like... (full context)
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Virgil announces that they are approaching the city of Dis, and Dante sees a city with... (full context)
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...spirits of fallen angels congregate and ask why a living man is walking through hell. Virgil tries to speak with them, but they tell him to leave Dante behind and stay... (full context)
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Dante, though, is so terrified that he hardly hears Virgil's reassurances. The fallen angels slam the gate to Dis shut in Virgil's face, and Dante... (full context)
Canto 9
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Even Virgil is pale with fear at being refused entry to the city of Dis. He voices... (full context)
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Virgil keeps talking, but Dante stops following what he is saying, as he is distracted by... (full context)
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Under the protection of the angel's words, Dante and Virgil proceed into Dis. Dante looks around and sees a plain filled with sepulchers, with flames... (full context)
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Dante asks Virgil who these people are in the burning tombs, and Virgil says that they are "heresiarchs",... (full context)
Canto 10
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While still walking by the heretics' tombs, Dante asks Virgil if he can see the souls who are inside the tombs, since all the tombs... (full context)
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Just then, a voice from one of the tombs interrupts Dante and Virgil, calling out to Dante as a living Tuscan. Virgil encourages Dante to go see the... (full context)
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Virgil urges Dante to hurry along, but before he does Dante asks Farinata to tell him... (full context)
Canto 11
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Dante and Virgil reach the edge of a cliff overlooking the descent to the lower parts of hell,... (full context)
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While they are waiting, Virgil explains some of the geography of hell. Looking down into the abyss, Virgil says that... (full context)
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In the seventh circle of hell, says Virgil, souls are punished for sins of violence. They are divided into groups based on who... (full context)
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Virgil continues to explain the layout of hell in the lower circles full of frauds: in... (full context)
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Virgil calls Dante foolish and reminds him that, as Aristotle teaches in his Ethics, there are... (full context)
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Dante then asks Virgil why usury (money-lending with excessive interest) is so wrong. According to Virgil, humans are supposed... (full context)
Canto 12
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Dante and Virgil find a way down from the precipice into the seventh circle, but their path is... (full context)
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Virgil explains to Dante that the path down through the cliffs was created by the massive... (full context)
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...all around the banks of the Phlegethon with bows and arrows. Upon seeing Dante and Virgil, one of them stops them and orders them to identify themselves and their punishments in... (full context)
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Chiron notices that Dante is a living soul and Virgil explains to him that he is leading Dante on a quest through hell ordained by... (full context)
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...Nessus shows Dante Guy de Montfort, who murdered Prince Henry of England. Nessus, Dante, and Virgil come to a shallow part of the river, where they can cross. After crossing, Nessus... (full context)
Canto 13
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Virgil and Dante come upon a dark forest filled with old, gnarled trees and devoid of... (full context)
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Virgil tells Dante to pluck a small branch from a tree. When Dante does this, the... (full context)
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The tree says that it will speak because of Virgil's kind words and answers that it was the man who held the keys to Frederick... (full context)
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Virgil guides Dante to the bush, which is itself trying to speak. It cries out in... (full context)
Canto 14
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...Dante gathers the scattered leaves and returns them to the bush, before continuing to follow Virgil toward the third ring of the seventh circle. The two poets come upon a desert... (full context)
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...will not let Jove (the king of the Roman gods) have the pleasure of vengeance. Virgil identifies him as Capaneus. (full context)
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Virgil explains to Dante that Capaneus was a king who besieged Thebes and made light of... (full context)
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Virgil then tells Dante about the source of hell's rivers. Under the island of Crete there... (full context)
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Dante questions Virgil further, asking where Lethe, the other river of the classical underworld, is. Virgil answers that... (full context)
Canto 15
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Leaving the forest behind, Dante and Virgil walk along the narrow path made by the banks of the Phlegethon. A large group... (full context)
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...Brunetto how he found himself in the dark wood and is now being guided by Virgil through hell. Brunetto encourages him to keep on his journey so that he will reach... (full context)
Canto 16
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As Dante and Virgil continue along the river, Dante can start to hear the waterfall where the river drops... (full context)
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...he returns to earth. They run off through the burning desert sands, letting Dante and Virgil resume their path. (full context)
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Dante and Virgil arrive at the waterfall where the Phlegethon falls down into the eighth circle. Dante compares... (full context)
Canto 17
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...like a scorpion's. (Though not yet named, this is Geryon, a monster from classical mythology.) Virgil tells Dante that they must walk over to this beast. As they approach, Dante sees... (full context)
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...what he is doing in hell and tells him to go away. Dante returns to Virgil, who tells him to mount Geryon. Dante is frightened and means to ask Virgil to... (full context)
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...the seething waterfall at their side. Circling like a hawk, Geryon finally lands and sets Virgil and Dante down safely in the eighth circle of hell, before bounding off. (full context)
Canto 18
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Virgil and Dante are now in the eighth circle of hell, reserved for those who committed... (full context)
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...back and forth. Dante recognizes one of these suffering souls and wonders who he is. Virgil allows him to stop and look more closely at the person. The soul tries to... (full context)
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...whips Venedico, forcing him to continue his running back and forth, so Dante returns to Virgil. The two poets climb up a ridge that bridges across the trench. As they walk,... (full context)
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Dante and Virgil now come to the edge of the second trench. Dante can hardly see to the... (full context)
Canto 19
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Dante and Virgil arrive in the third trench, which holds Simonists, those who bought or sold sacred things... (full context)
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...one of the souls is, who seems to be burned even worse than the others. Virgil takes him down closer to the Simonists, and Dante asks the sinner who he is,... (full context)
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...as divine, instead of God. Upon hearing this, Nicholas writhes more and more in pain. Virgil approves of Dante's harsh speech and carries him back up to the path leading to... (full context)
Canto 20
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...describes the sinners' tears welling up and streaming down their backs), Dante begins to weep. Virgil chides him for this, and tells him he can choose between pity and piety. Since... (full context)
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Virgil tells Dante to look at one of the backwards-facing souls, Amphiaraus (a seer of Greek... (full context)
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Virgil insists that this is the true story of the origins of Mantua, and that other... (full context)
Canto 21
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...boiling pitch and Dante cannot see anything in the pitch, which is continually bubbling. Suddenly, Virgil tells him to look out and pulls him to his side. Dante turns to see... (full context)
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Virgil tells Dante to hide behind a rock while he talks with these devils. When the... (full context)
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Dante hurries to Virgil's side. A few of the devils debate poking and stabbing at Dante for fun, anyways,... (full context)
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Dante is terrified and begs for Virgil to guide him alone, without the dubious company of demons. Virgil, though, reassures Dante that... (full context)
Canto 22
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...pulls him out of the pitch. While the devils gleefully consider flaying him, Dante asks Virgil if he can possibly know who this is. Virgil asks the sinner where he is... (full context)
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Virgil asks if he knows of any Italians in the pitch. The sinner says that he... (full context)
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...another, and the two of them accidentally fall into the pitch, where they are stuck. Virgil and Dante leave the band of devils behind. (full context)
Canto 23
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As Virgil and Dante walk on, Dante worries that the devils will get angry and come after... (full context)
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...on the outside, but lined with heavy lead that weighs the souls down. Dante asks Virgil to see if he can find any famous sinner amongst them. Two souls overhear Dante... (full context)
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Virgil asks the friars how he and Dante might get out of this trench and Catalano... (full context)
Canto 24
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Dante is distressed to see Virgil upset, but when they get to the rocks by which they can climb up to... (full context)
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Dante gets back up, catches his breath, and tells Virgil to lead on. As they cross the bridge, Dante hears unintelligible voices from below but... (full context)
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Virgil assents and when they cross and go down into the trench, Dante sees a mass... (full context)
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...form the body of the sinner again, like a phoenix emerging from its own ashes. Virgil asks the reconstituted soul who he is and where he is from. He is from... (full context)
Canto 25
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Three spirits come up to Dante and Virgil and ask who the two poets are. One of them calls for someone named Cianfa.... (full context)
Canto 26
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...says that he saw five Florentines among the thieves and is ashamed for his city. Virgil leads Dante back up to the bridge, so that they can head for the next... (full context)
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Dante and Virgil take the dangerous climb up some rocks and Dante can see the eighth trench lit... (full context)
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Dante sees a flame split in two and asks who is under that flame. Virgil tells him that it is Ulysses and Diomedes. In Homer's Iliad these two heroes fought... (full context)
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Dante eagerly asks Virgil if he can speak to the two heroes. Virgil agrees that this would be good,... (full context)
Canto 27
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The spirit begs Dante and Virgil to speak with him. He asks about Romagna, a region of Italy. Virgil encourages Dante... (full context)
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...his fraudulence and deceit. Having told his story, Guido leaves, lamenting his fate. Dante and Virgil go onward toward the ninth trench of this circle of hell. (full context)
Canto 28
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Virgil explains that Dante is not dead and is not being punished here, but is journeying... (full context)
Canto 29
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Dante continues to look at the sowers of discord in amazement, and Virgil tells him that they must hurry and continue with their journey. There are far too... (full context)
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Virgil says that Geri looked angrily at Dante, and Dante says that this must be because... (full context)
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...souls here suffer from horrible diseases and sicknesses, worse than any on earth. Dante and Virgil walk down into the trench and Dante sees that here falsifiers are punished. The souls... (full context)
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Virgil asks these two if anyone nearby is Italian and tells them that he is leading... (full context)
Canto 30
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Dante is enjoying watching these sinners feud, but Virgil rebukes him, telling him that he will "quarrel with thee," (30.122) if he delays their... (full context)
Canto 31
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Relieved that Virgil is not seriously upset with him, Dante follows him forward. Dante can hardly see anything... (full context)
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Virgil tells Dante that what he sees are not towers, but actually giants stuck from their... (full context)
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One of the giants tries to speak, but no intelligible words come. Virgil tells the giant not to try to speak, but to stick to its horn, which... (full context)
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...then sees an even taller giant, with its hands bound by a huge iron chain. Virgil names him as Ephialtes, who in classical mythology tried to climb to the top of... (full context)
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Virgil addresses the fearful giant Antaeus and tells him to carry Dante and him safely down... (full context)
Canto 32
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...muses to help his poem stay close to the truth. As Antaeus drops Dante and Virgil on the ground, he hears a voice telling them to be careful not to tread... (full context)
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...member). Dante sees thousands more frightening faces sticking out of the ice, as he and Virgil walk toward the center of the lake, leaving behind those who betrayed their families and... (full context)
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...on a head. The spirit cries out and Dante thinks he recognizes it. He asks Virgil if they can stop for a moment. The soul hurls insults at Dante, and Dante... (full context)
Canto 33
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...Italian cities, his children did not deserve to be punished along with him. Dante and Virgil leave Ugolino behind and Dante sees some tortured souls lying on their backs in the... (full context)
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Dante feels a wind and asks Virgil what is causing it. Virgil tells him that he will see for himself soon enough.... (full context)
Canto 34
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Virgil informs Dante that they are now approaching Lucifer, once the fairest of angels before he... (full context)
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Virgil tells Dante that they have now seen all of hell. They wait until an opportune... (full context)
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Virgil tells Dante to get on his feet again, because they must continue their journey, even... (full context)
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...trickles and by following that stream (the beginnings of the river Lethe), Dante says that Virgil led him out of hell. At long last, Dante crawled out of hell through a... (full context)