Souls Punished In Dante’s Inferno
Souls Punished In "Dante’s Inferno"
In Dante’s Divine Comedy, there are countless references to all forms of sins and the punishments of those who committed them. Dante goes into great detail when describing these sins and their consequences. Each punishment is perfectly fitting to the crime itself, so that the sinner deserves exactly what he is facing. Dante gains an immense amount of knowledge in conversing with a few of the souls that are forever trapped in Hell.
When Dante descends to the second ring of the seventh circle to the wood of the suicides, he finds Pietro delle Vigne. This was a trusted friend of Frederick, and took his life after he was charged of plotting against him. His soul now remains in Hell, in the form of an old withered tree. It produces no fruit, but only poison. These souls of the suicides are in the forms of unmovable trees because they took for granted their earthly bodies. They did not appreciate the freedom they possessed when having bodily form, so now in Hell, they have none. They cannot go anywhere or even move at all, and are each day reminded of the life they threw away.
As Dante continues his descent through Hell, he comes to the eighth circle. This portion is divided into ten chasms holding sinners of fraud. The third chasm contains those who committed the sin of simony. These souls are tormented by being permanently turned upside down in narrow holes, with only their legs protruding in the air. As Dante and Virgil make their way down the chasm, they speak to Nicholas III. He was consumed with the want of wealth, which ultimately only led him to the position he now fulfills in Hell. These sinners are turned upside down because of the effects they brought onto the church because of their sin. They inverted the way things are supposed to be, so now they are inverted in Hell themselves. They are forever reminded of their sin by remaining constantly in their unnatural position.
By speaking to these two shades and numerous others, Dante grows and learns a significant amount about sin. When he finally gets out of Hell, he is so relieved and grateful that he does not have to suffer like those souls...