Book Notes Canto XXXI Notes from The Inferno

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The Inferno Canto XXXI

Virgil soothes Dante's shame as they enter the central pit, the ninth circle, where Satan himself is held. This circle holds traitors of all kinds. The air is thick and impairs sight. They hear a thunderous horn sound, which Dante compares to Roland's signal to Charlemagne, which he ignored based upon a betrayer's advice. Virgil points out giants who are sunk in the walls of the pit and emerge navel-deep, appearing like guard towers in the darkness. The first giant they approach is Nimrod, the man who organized the building of the tower of Babel. He shouts out nonsensical words at the pilgrims, and Virgil reprimands him and suggests he use his horn instead. The next giant they approach is Ephialtes, who warred with the Olympian gods. His arms and torso are wound and fastened with chains. Dante wishes to see the giant, Briareus, who also warred with the gods and was famous for his immense size. Virgil says he is imprisoned further along and they will not pass him, whereupon Ephialtes struggles violently causing the earth to move. They move on and reach Antæus, one of the giants who did not participate in the war against the gods. He is left unchained, and Virgil summons him to lift them up and place them in the bottom of the pit. The giant leans to take them and Dante is reminded of the Carisenda, a leaning tower in the city Bologna. Antæus takes them up together and places them in the frozen marsh Cocytus, where all the waters in Hell collect and where Lucifer and Judas are punished.

Topic Tracking: Literature/Mythology/Bible

Topic Tracking: God's Will 9

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