Dante’s Inferno is the first part of the epic poem Divine Comedy. I’ve heard the book mentioned so many times, but have never taken the time to read it. I’m glad that I have the opportunity now! I saw a review of Inferno that said it has largely shaped the way the literary world views Hell, Satan, and purgatory, and this 14th century book was also the inspiration for much of the art
The Gates of Hell and Charon: Interesting that the angels were turned away from Hell. I always envisioned Hell as this place that would swallow any soul that God deemed unfit for heaven or purgatory. Dante is being led through Hell, almost in tour like fashion, by the great Virgil. Looking at various exhibits of moaning souls and tortured beings. Virgil seems well acquainted with the place and talks back to Charon the ferryman.
Limbo: The edge of Hell. The place where those ignorant to the teachings of Christ are resigned. All those who lived before the King. Apparently Jesus made a visit to Hell to rescue the souls from the Old Testament (Adam, Moses, etc.) in a story known as the Harrowing of Hell. Cool! So although Hell is Satan’s domain, Jesus has rescued many souls from Limbo, not just the blessed.
Poets, Philosophers, Heroes, and Heroines: It’s funny to think that even back then the people loved a good mashup, lol. Virgil introduces Dante to great figures from antiquity. Dante gets a little cocky in his writing and says that the greats like Homer and Ovid honor him as a fellow wise man. They come across Brutus, Caesar, Saladin, Aristotle, Orpheus, Socrates, Pluto, Hippocrates, and even Avicenna! This chapter was really just a hey look who all is down here kinda deal.
Cerberus and Plutus: Here Dante and Virgil descend to the third and fourth circles. The third circle contains the well known three headed dog Cerberus and Virgil in all his greatness just fastballs dirt into the mouth of the Hell creature. Just another day for Virgil. Why are there so many people in Hell? Could they have messed up THAT bad?
I also learned through wiki that Ancient greek comedy was just one of three forms of classical Greek theatre. The others being tragedy and satyr. Aristotle noted that what makes a play a comedy is the involvement of a blunder that does not cause pain or disaster. The early comedies were funny and mocked powerful men for their vanity or foolishness.