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Circles 1 and 2

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by

Sara Register

on 21 April 2015

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Transcript of Circles 1 and 2

Hell is a Choice
Hell is a place for people who have deliberately chosen an evil way of life
But what about those who made neither choice?
They are neither in hell nor in heaven.
Stuck in the waiting room of the afterlife.
The Uncommitted
"I saw a banner there upon the mist...It ran on, and still behind it pressed a never-ending rout of souls in pain."

The selfish, uncommitted souls are forced to chase an ever-changing banner for eternity, which is the opposite of life where they picked no sides except for themselves.
"These wretches never born and never dead/ran naked in a swarm of wasps and hornets/that goaded them the more they fled..."

Symbolically being stung into action!
"...and made their faces stream with bloody gouts/ of pus and tears that dribbled to their feet/ to be swallowed there by loathesome worms and maggots."

Yum. But basically they never willingly shed blood so now they do it unwillingly
Who is here?
"I recognized the shadow of that soul/ who, in his cowardice, made the Great Denial."
- This is most likely about Pope Celestine V who abdicated five months into his papacy and allowed a more corrupt pope to take his place.
The Vestibule of Hell
"I AM THE WAY INTO THE CITY OF WOE.
I AM THE WAY TO A FORSAKEN PEOPLE.
I AM THE WAY INTO ETERNAL SORROW.

SACRED JUSTICE MOVED MY ARCHITECT.
I WAS RAISED HERE BY DIVINE OMNIPOTENCE,
PRIMORDIAL LOVE AND ULTIMATE INTELLECT.

ONLY THOSE ELEMENTS TIME CANNOT WEAR
WERE MADE BEFORE ME, AND BEYOND TIME I STAND.
ABANDON ALL HOPE, YE WHO ENTER HERE."

Circles 1 and 2
Also fallen angels who chose no side in the war in heaven.
The River Acheron
The boatman, Charon, tells Dante he cannot pass through since he is alive.
Virgil says that heaven has ordained it, so back off.
Virgil explains that souls come from all over the earth to seek their Divine Justice... in other words, the sinners WANT their punishment. A choice.
DEUS EX MACHINA
A sudden earthquake and fire and wind from the ground!

And Dante faints! We will never know how he got to the other side of the river..
CIRCLE 1! LIMBO!!!!
not that kind.
Dante is awakened by the screams of the damned!
As they enter CIRCLE 2, the sounds slip away.

The LUSTFUL in circle 2 are not tormented by sound as others are. Dante only hears the sighs of sadness.
Citizens of Limbo: Virtuous Pagans
Not tormented. Their only pain is that they have no hope.
Who is here?
Homer
Horace
Ovid
And they make Dante one of them, of course ;)
This is the Citadel of Human Reason. These are the Master Souls of Pagan Antiquity, illuminated by the radiance of Human Reason. It is the highest state man can achieve without God, according to Dante.
The poets proceed and encounter Minos, the judge of the dead.
Just like Charon, he tries to send Dante back, but again, Virgil silences this guard.
These are the souls who betrayed reason for their appetites. They are swept in a tempest of wind, just as they were blown about by the tempest of their passions in life.
"There Minos sits, grinning, grotesque and hale./He examines each lost soul as it arrives/and delivers his verdict with his coiling tail.
Who is here?
Semiramis
Queen Dido
Cleopatra
Achilles
Paris and Helen
Paolo and Francesca
"Poet, I should be glad/ to speak a word with those two swept together/so lightly on the wind and still so sad."
Paolo and Francesca were lovers married to other people, but they were arranged marriages. Then one day her husband was lying in wait for them...
"...when we read/ how her fond smile was kissed by such a lover,/ he who is one with me alive and dead/ breathed on my lips the tremor of his kiss.../That day we read no further."
And then Dante fainted again, so overcome with how unfair it was for lovers to be tormented in hell.

Which will lead us to the next group....
Full transcript