Malebogle; “The Eighth Circle of Hell”
“There is in Hell a place called Malebolge, made of stone the color of iron, like the circle that encloses it.”(Canto18) In the second half of Dante’s Inferno we are introduced to the “Eighth Circle of Hell” also known as Malebolge. In literal terms Malebolge “evil pouches” or “sachs” and is sometimes looked at as being “Hells stomach”. This metaphor is used in Canto 18 when describing the greed and selfishness that is incorporated into the “Eighth Circle of Hell”. Dante uses this Canto to give us a captivating and vigorous look into the infamous Malegbolge.
Physically, Malebolge is a large, funnel shaped cavern, divided into ten concentric circular trenches known as “ bolgias”. Each “bolgia” or “pouch” is dedicated to punishing a certain type of sinner. Long bridges run from the outer circumference of Malebolge to the center, where the ninth and final stage of hell lies. Dante uses imagery of a “castle” and “moats” to describe the structure and layout of Malebolge. It is depicted in many stories that the castle is at the center and the world surrounds the castle on the outside. “The point is partly that this depth of Hell is kind of perverted and inverted fortress, that of Satan, who is at war with God and with the dammed. That the pit “truncates” and “gathers in” the ridges emphasizes the ambiguous futility of the structure” (Notes 283).
In Dante’s version of hell, categories of sin are punished in different circles. The worst possible sinners are usually at the center of hell in the ninth layer. Sinners placed in the upper circles of hell are given lesser punishments for their less severe crimes. Malebolge is plagued with hypocrites, seducers, pimps and sorcerers and is considered one of the worst places in the circles of hell. The sinners that are kept in Malebolge are ones in which committed “simple” fraud. Simple fraud is defined as being fraud in which is...