The Sinners of the Vestibule and Circles One and Two
In the novel Inferno, Dante explains his journey through the nine circles of Hell. As Virgil, Dante’s guide, takes him into the place, ”Where [he] will hear the groans of hopeless men, will look upon the sorrowing souls of the old, crying in torment for a second death,” he learns what sins these people have committed. Due to the law of contrapasso, these sinners are given an appropriate punishment for the crime they have committed. In the beginning of Dante’s journey he passes through the Vestibule and the first two circle of Hell and learns about the sinners and their afflictions in these places.
After passing through the gates of Hell, Dante arrives in the vestibule of the Under World. Upon entering he hears the angry sighs and moans of the sinners who reside there. The souls who dwell in the Vestibule are those of neutrals who have no hope for death. These dispassionate spirits are punished with the pain of constant bites from flies and wasps to remind them of the cost of their neutrality. Also Dante witnesses a group of sinners chasing after a banner flying with great speed which shows the uselessness of the neutrals that are in the Vestibule. As Dante and Virgil near the Achenon River Dante sees many shades gathered at the shores waiting to cross. Dante gets on a boat with many of these shades where he falls asleep as they travel towards the first circle of Hell.
When Dante wakes from his sleep he finds himself in the first circle of Hell called Limbo. Here he finds the souls of unbaptized infants and of virtuous men and women who didn’t give Homage to God. These souls are punished with having to live forever in desire without hope. Dante’s guide, Virgil, is one of the many men of great distinction in this circle beside other great poets of old such as Homer and great philosophers such as Aristotle. Although Dante feels pain for these souls he views them as sinners for they have not accepted God....