The nine circles of Hell in Dante’s epic poem “Inferno” are Limbo, Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Anger, Heresy, Violence, Fraud, and Treachery in that order. Sinners are punished according to the severity of their misdeeds on these circular levels, with Limbo holding the least severe penalties and Treachery holding the harshest ones.
In the poem, the poet Virgil, who was sent to him by his deceased love Beatrice, leads Dante through Hell. The tour is led by Virgil, and it begins at the very top of Hell. Limbo, which is not a place of punishment but rather a lovely place that is not Heaven, is where unbaptized souls and righteous pagan are kept. The next four degrees are employed to punish self-indulgent crimes such as lust, gluttony, avarice, and rage. Levels six and seven are used to punish sins that are violent, such as heresy and blasphemy, which are violent acts against God. Last but not least, levels eight and nine penalise treasonous or fraudulent sinners.
The opening poem of “The Divine Comedy,” a metaphor of a sinner’s journey toward God, is “Inferno.” According to the sins committed, each level of Hell has punishments that are both hilariously appropriate and metaphorical. The sinner, in a sense, decides on his own punishment in life. Literature is full with references to Dante’s works, like John Keats’ sonnet “On A Dream,” which makes reference to the winds that chastise the lusty.
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