Writing title: Dante’s Inferno
Canto: Canto 6; CIRCLE THREE; The Gluttons
Artwork: Salvador Dali, Inferno: Canto 6
Canto 6 summary:
Dante recovers from his swoon and finds himself in the THIRD CIRCLE. A great storm of putrefaction falls incessantly, a mixture of stinking snow and freezing rain, which forms into a vile slush underfoot. Everything about this Circle suggests a gigantic garbage dump. The souls of the damned lie in the icy paste, swollen and obscene, and CERBERUS, the ravenous three-headed dog of Hell, stands guard over them, ripping and tearing them with his claws and teeth. These are the GLUTTONS. In life they made no higher use of the gifts of God than to wallow in food and drink, producers of nothing but garbage and offal. Here they lie through all eternity, themselves like garbage, half-buried in fetid slush, while Cerberus slavers over them as they in life slavered over their food. As the Poets pass, one of the speakers sits up and addresses Dante. He is CIACCO, THE HOG, a citizen of Dante’s own Florence. He recognizes Dante and asks eagerly for news of what is happening there. With the foreknowledge of the damned, Ciacco then utters the first of the political prophecies that are to become a recurring theme of the Inferno. The Poets then move on toward the next Circle, at the edge of which they encounter the monster Plutus.