Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
DanteworldsA Reader's Guide to the Inferno$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Guy P. Raffa

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780226702674

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226702780.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 22 June 2021

Circle 9: Treachery

Circle 9: Treachery

Inferno 31–34

(p.121) Circle 9: Treachery

Guy P. Raffa

University of Chicago Press

This chapter presents a brief plot summary for the ninth circle of Hell, followed by explanations of “encounters” and “allusions”, significant verses (in Italian and English), and study questions to aid in comprehension and facilitate discussion of the poem. Towering over the inner edge of circle eight are Giants, one of whom (Antaeus) lowers Dante and Virgil onto the frozen surface of Cocytus, the ninth circle of Hell. Embedded in separate regions of the ice are those who betrayed kin (Caina), homeland or political party (Antenora), guests (Ptolomea), and benefactors (Judecca). After kicking one of the political traitors hard in the face, Dante learns that this man (Bocca) betrayed the Florentine Guelphs at Montaperti. In the same region Dante finds Count Ugolino gnawing on the skull of Archbishop Ruggieri, whose cruelty caused Ugolino (with his sons and grandsons) to die of hunger. Fra Alberigo informs Dante that souls of those who betray their guests arrive in Hell even while their bodies continue to live on earth. In Judecca, at the very center of Hell, Dante sees Lucifer. Much larger than the Giants, he has three hideous faces and six huge, batlike wings that generate the winds needed to keep the lake frozen. Two mouths, one on each side, chew on Caesar's assassins, Brutus and Cassius, while the middle mouth engulfs Judas, the betrayer of Jesus. Virgil carries Dante down the shaggy body of Lucifer, making sure to flip over and climb once they have passed through the center of the earth. Dante then follows Virgil along a trail through the other half of the globe until he is able to see the stars again.

Keywords:   Dante Alighieri, Virgil, Cocytus, Caina, Antenora, Ptolomea, Judecca, Bocca, Count Ugolino, Archbishop Ruggieri

Chicago Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.