To merely say that Dante was interested in the world of hell would be an understatement. His needs to explore and write about the nine different realms could best be described as an obsession. It’s an adventure, a tale, a dream (or nightmare) of different historical, biblical, and Greek gods and creatures living their lives in the afterlife of the underground world. Each level has its own form of punishment fitting the crime one has committed.
Level one, Limbo: for those who have not acted upon sin to be punished for, but rather didn’t accept Christ as their savior. Those in Limbo aren’t harmed or living in suffering. They live in a deficient form of heaven. The place is green and peaceful, but the people there are full of
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The people in level two let lust overcome reason showing lack of self-discipline and therefore have lost all bodily control by the ongoing winds. To consume anything in excess will lead you to the third level of hell. To drink heavily or to eat obsessively, the people of level three live where the rain never stops and are completely covered in mud. They cannot see and are completely unaware of the people around them which symbolize the cold, emptiness of the lives they lived through the chase of satisfaction in materialistic goods. The addictions they carried were created by their need to fulfill their sensuality and in return are living in non-stop foul of their intakes from their previous life.
Hoarders and squanders are welcomed into level four. These include the wealthy, popes, and clergymen. The people here have lived their lives either hoarding materialistic goods/ money or have spent endless amounts of valuables on wasteful, yet extravagant things. The residents in the fourth circle are punished by pushing huge weights against each other. The hoarders and the squanders clash against each other screaming, “Why hoard,” the others, “Why waste?” In their previous lives, they were not able to spend or save in moderation and thus are punished by having to fight with one another with large boulders.
Those that have lived a cruel, wrathful life live within the river of Styx. Here, live