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The Inferno by Dante Alighieri - Barron's Booknotes
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Dante awakens from his faint to a cold, ceaseless rain and an
earth that smells of rot and decay. He is in the Third Circle
where the Gluttonous wallow in the drenched earth and are
mauled by the vile, triple-headed Cerberus, traditional
guardian of Hell. The shades squirm, scream, and writhe to
escape the inescapable monster, who also threatens Dante and
Virgil. Virgil picks up handfuls of the slime and throws them
in the mouths of Cerberus, and the poets hurry past.

Dante speaks to a fellow Florentine who has been nicknamed
Ciacco, which means "pig." Ciacco tells Dante of some of the
events that are to happen in Florence before Virgil moves
Dante along. While they travel on, Dante asks Virgil whether
the suffering he has encountered will grow more intense or
will lessen after the Judgment Day. Virgil replies that the
souls will become "more perfect," which is usually explained
as a belief that the souls will be united to their bodies at that

NOTE: Most readers find Francesca and Paolo sad and
Ciacco rather repulsive. The sin has moved from one of
mutual indulgence to solitary self-indulgence; the image of the
soul has moved from one buffeted by passion to one alone and
groveling. The use of Cerberus reinforces the image of the
uncontrolled appetite that is common to all the sins of

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The Inferno by Dante Alighieri - Barron's Booknotes

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