[Capaneus]: "That which I was in life, I am in death.
Though Jove wear out the smith from whom he took
in wrath, the keen-edged thunderbolt with which
on my last day I was to be transfixed;
or if he tire the others, one by one,
in Mongibello, at the sooty forge,
while bellowing: ‘O help, good Vulcan, help!’ –
just as he did when there was war at Phlegra –
and casts his shafts at me with all his force,
not even then would he have happy vengeance."
Then did my guide speak with such vehemence
as I had never heard him use before:
"O Capaneus, for your arrogance
that is not quenched, you’re punished all the more:
no torture other than your own madness
could offer pain enough to match your wrath."
But then, with gentler face he turned to me
and said: "That man was one of seven kings
besieging Thebes; he held – and still, it seems,
holds – God in great disdain, disprizing Him…" (Inf. XIV, 51-70)
Capaneus’ sin lies primarily in his inability to change. What "I was in life, I am in death," he announces and, in so doing, damns himself for eternity. As long as he remains eternally unrepentant, nothing can change for him. Neither can time move forward for him, nor can his punishment be alleviated.