Dante’s Inferno Research: The Fifth Circle

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In Dante’s Inferno, there are nine levels of Hell which are distinguished based upon the specific sin of a mortal being. In the Inferno, the fifth circle is the realm where the wrathful and the sullen sinners reside. “Wrath and sullenness are basically two forms of a single sin: anger that is expressed (wrath) and anger that is repressed (sullenness)” (danteworlds.com). These sinners are the beings who chose a vengeful path in order to get back at those that they envied or felt wronged by. As punishment “the sinners of wrath will constantly try to rip each other’s throats out as they fight in the mud” (shmoop.com).

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The concept of them being naked is most likely to symbolize the shame and humiliation that they experience in Hell as punishment for their pride. Their angry expressions signify the life that they had lived in anger on earth and as punishment they will forevermore live in anger in Hell. Virgil quotes, “Son [Dante], thou now beholdest the souls of those whom anger overcame; and likewise I would have thee know for certain beneath the water people are who sigh and make this water bubble at the surface” (Alighieri 118-122). This quote represents the silent anger known as sullenness. This quote mentions those who were silently angry in life and as punishment they will live in silence forever.

...End of the Dante’s Inferno Research: The Fifth Circle ...

Shmoop University, Inc., . “SparkNotes: Inferno: Cantos VII–IX.” SparkNotes: Today’s Most Popular Study Guides. <http://www.sparknotes.com/poetry/inferno/section4.rhtml>. “Welcome to Hell: Cantos VIII, IX.” Freewebs.com. <http://www.freewebs.com/dante-inferno/cirlcefive.htm>.

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