Circle 3: Gluttony

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 3: Gluttony

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This chapter presents a brief plot summary for the third 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. Cerberus, a doglike beast with three heads, guards the third circle of Hell and mauls the spirits punished here for their gluttony. The shades, writhing in muck, are unrelentingly pounded by a cold and filthy mixture of rain, sleet, and snow that makes the earth stink. One glutton, nicknamed Ciacco, rises up and recognizes Dante as a fellow Florentine. Ciacco prophesies bloody fighting between Florence's two political factions that will result first in the supremacy of one party (white Guelphs) and then, less than three years later, the victory and harsh retribution of the other party (black Guelphs). After informing Dante that several leading Florentines are punished below in other circles of Hell, Ciacco falls back to the ground, not to rise again until the Last Judgment at the end of time.

Keywords: Cerberus; Ciacco; Dante Alighieri; Florence; Guelphs

Chapter.  1513 words. 

Subjects: Literature

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