Cantos 19 and 20
Canto 19- Entering the 3rd Bolgia, the Simoniacs
Canto 20- Entering the 4th Bolgia, the Fortune Tellers and the Diviners
Cantos 21 and 22
Circle 8 5th Bolgia of Hell
- The landscape of this Bolgia is a large pit filled with a boiling, sticky, tar-like substance
- The people here are Grafters - people who trade the powers and favors of their political office for money
- "The sticky pitch is symbolic of the sticky fingers of the Grafters" (Ciardi 169)
- It also serves to conceal them, mirroring how their sinful dealings on earth were hidden from man's eye
- Here, souls must submerge themselves in the pit. If they come to the surface, demons tear them to pieces with claws and grappling hooks
- These demons are called the Malabranche - meaning "evil claws."
- While conversing with the Demons, Virgil learns that the bridge to the sixth bolgia is broken
- Virgil and Dante have to be escorted to the sixth bolgia by 10 demons
- Epic Similie, page 170
Circle 8 5th Bolgia of Hell
- Virgil and Dante are on their way to the sixth Bolgia
- The fixate on the grafters in the pit who move around in the pouch but cannot be at the surface very long or they get torn apart
- Imagery: One unfortunate grafter who stays at the surface too long is punished by a Demon who runs "a hook through the sinner's pitchy hair and hauled him in. He looked like an otter dripping from the brook" (Ciardi 179).
- Virgil and Dante converse with a grafter who claims to have worked for King Thibault
- The conversation ends when the tusked demon Ciriatto rips into the soul's body. Imagery: "He hooked the sinner's arm and, raking it, ripped off a chunk of meat" (Ciardi 181).
- One grafter then tries to escape from the pit and starts a riot among the demons and grafters
- Virgil and Dante escape in the midst of the chaos.
Entering the Sixth Bolgia- The Hypocrites
- After Dante a Virgil sneak away from the fiends, Dante realizes that they are in peril. Dante sees the fiends chasing them and warns Virgil of the impending doom.
- Virgil, then without hesitating, clutches Dante and slides down a slope to the sixth bolgia where they encounter the hypocrites.
- The hypocrites all wore great big coats with a dazzling, brilliant appearance. Dante then learns however, that the coats are actually extremely heavy because they are filled with lead.
- The hypocrites walk forever in a circle under the enormous weight of the lead.
- Dante and Virgil come up upon Caiaphas, the chief sinner of the hypocrites. He is crucified to the floor by three great stakes. Caiaphas was the High Priest of the Jews who counseled the Pharisees to crucify Jesus.
- Caiaphas must suffer upon his own weight and the weight of his sins throughout eternity.
like a mother wakened by a midnight noise
to find a wall of flame at her bedside
(who takes her child and runs, and more concerned
for him than for herself, does not pause even
to throw a wrap about her) raised me, turned,
and down the rugged bank from the high summit..."