Circle 2: Lust

Guy P. Raffa

in Danteworlds

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2007 | ISBN: 9780226702674
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226702780 | DOI:
Circle 2: Lust

Show Summary Details


This chapter presents a brief plot summary for the second circle of Hell, followed by explanations of “encounters” and “allusions”, significant verses (in Italian and English), and study questions to aid in comprehension and facilitate discussion of the poem. Dante and Virgil encounter Minos, the monster who judges all the souls damned to Hell, at the entrance to the second circle. Tossed about by vicious winds, the spirits within this circle are guilty of lust, a sin that for many led to adultery and for at least some of the most famous—Dido, Cleopatra, Helen of Troy, Achilles, Paris, and Tristan—to a violent death. Here Dante is drawn to two lustful souls still bound to one another in Hell: the beautiful Francesca and her handsome brother-in-law Paolo were murdered by the betrayed husband. Dante is so distraught after hearing Francesca's moving tale of how she and Paolo came to act on their passion that he faints and falls hard to the ground.

Keywords: Dante Alighieri; Virgil; Minos; Dido; Cleopatra; Helen of Troy; Achilles; Paris; Tristan; Francesca

Chapter.  1987 words. 

Subjects: Literature

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.