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by Dante Alighieri
Dante Timeline and Summary
Lost in a dark wood, Dante is threatened by three wild animals – a leopard, lion, and she-wolf. Virgil rescues him and they begin a journey to Hell. But Dante has doubts. So Virgil reassures him. They enter Hell. Dante has trouble understanding the inscription on the Hellgate. They see the neutrals. In Limbo, Dante gets to meet his favorite poets. He and Virgil get a ride across the Acheron with Charon. In the Second Circle (Lustful), Dante talks to Francesca. And he cries because he feels sorry for her. In the Third Circle (Gluttons), Dante talks to Ciacco. But he’s more interested in a prophecy about Florence than in Ciacco’s personal story. In the Fourth Circle, Dante sees the Avaricious and Prodigal. And he listens to a lecture about Fortune from Virgil. While crossing into to the city of Dis, Dante gets pissed off at a Wrathful sinner and pushes him into the river. Virgil rejoices. At Dis, Dante is scared because Virgil has failed to get them into the city. But they’re saved by a Heavenly messenger. In the Sixth Circle (Heretics), Dante argues about Florentine politics with Farinata and almost lies to Cavalcante. But he does eventually tell the truth. During a rest, Dante listens to Virgil’s lecture on the structure of Hell. The two meet a group of centaurs, get a guide, and tour the Violent boiling in blood. Dante talks to the Suicide dude Pier della Vigna and feels bad for him because he’s a tree. In the last part of the Seventh Circle, Dante talks to Brunetto Latini, his former teacher. They have an emotional reunion. Dante talks to more Sodomites. While Virgil summons Geryon, Dante is sent off to meet the Usurers. He gets scared and runs back to Virgil. The two of them mount Geryon and are flown down to the Eighth Circle. Dante see the Flatterers in a pool of their own excrement. Dante is mistaken for Pope Boniface VIII, his hated enemy, by the Simonist Pope Nicholas III. Dante wrathfully condemns him to his punishment. Dante cries out of pity for the Diviners, Magicians, and Astrologers. They meet a group of Malebranche demons and get a party of ten to accompany them to some bridge. Dante’s scared of them. As the demons are busy tormenting a Barrator, Dante and Virgil make their escape. While talking to the Hypocrites, they learn the demons lied to them about the bridge. Dante and Virgil witness the horrible punishment of the Thieves. Vanni Fucci is rude to them. Dante and Virgil witness the dismembered Sowers of Scandal and Schism. Dante talks to Bertran de Born, who’s decapitated. He learns about contrapasso. In the ring of the Falsifiers, Dante talks to Alchemist Capocchio and witnesses a argument between Counterfeiter Master Adam and Falsifier of Words Sinon. Virgil rebukes him. Dante is ashamed. Virgil convinces a giant to carry him and Dante into the Ninth Circle. It’s cold; there’s ice. Traitor to his Homeland Bocca pisses off Dante by refusing to tell him his name. Dante threatens to rip out his hair. They meet Ugolino chewing off another sinner’s head. They hear his story. Dante cries. They meet Fra Alberigo and Dante promises to relieve his suffering if he tells them his story. Alberigo does. Dante breaks his promise and lets the guy suffer. They witness Lucifer. He’s not that great. Virgil picks up Dante and they climb down, then up, Lucifer’s body. Virgil explains why to Dante. Dante and Virgil emerge on the surface of the earth.