| Quote #10
Along its [Malebolge’s] bottom, naked sinners moved,
In the first pouch of the Eighth Circle, the panderers (or pimps) and seducers march in ranks, hustled along by demons whipping their backs. In life, these sinners manipulated others into sinful acts with their words. So in Hell, they are themselves manipulated and moved by fierce demons.
| Quote #11
We heard the people whine in the next pouch
In life, the flatterers wheedled others with false praise to achieve their own filthy ends. Their words, spoken insincerely, amount spiritually to rubbish. Thus, they wallow in their own excrement, which is so squalid that their very "exhalations, rising from below….encrust them with mold."
| Quote #12
Along the sides and down along the bottom,
The image of the dishonest clergymen buried upside-down in the rock with their protruding feet seared by flames is recognizable to the devout Christian as an inversion of the Pentecost. In this feast of salvation, the Apostles descended with flaming haloes around their heads. That the simonists are physically inverted, with flames at their feet, demonstrates metaphorically that their practices oppose those of the Pentecost. When the Apostles descended, all their followers were filled with the spirit of the Holy Ghost and began speaking and prophesying in other tongues – basically affirming the truth of the Word. (Some scholars have read the Pentecost as a reversal of the Tower of Babel, a reunification of all the different human languages.) Simonists, on the other hand, sell the Word for profit, as absolution from sin, thus putting a price on the Word and denying its sanctity.