Follow TV Tropes

This is based on opinion. Please don't list it on a work's trope example list.

Following

Nightmare Fuel / The Divine Comedy

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/latest_3_4.jpg
Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.note 
Advertisement:

Inferno is one of the most detailed accounts of what Hell might feel like. The end results aren't pretty.


  • The ones who really have it bad are the ones trapped in Hell's Vestibule — The Opportunists. As they never took sides between good and evil in life, so is their fate in death. They're not actually a part of Hell, and they have no chance at redemption. They just have one small place to be tormented for eternity alone by themselves. Said torment often involves being relentlessly attacked by biting and stinging insects.
  • Limbo, First Circle of Hell, is rather benign compared to the others, as it's home to those pagans who weren't quite bad enough to get into hell proper, but it is still Hell.. And children who weren't baptized end up here.
  • The Second Circle, meant for people overcome with lust, dooms its inhabitants to be buffeted about by the terrible winds of a violent storm, never knowing rest. While this isn't a particularly harsh punishment by the poem's standards, the idea of being eternally blown around by such powerful winds is still a pretty terrifying thought. Especially when you take into consideration that extreme wind speeds are known to cause severe frostbite.
  • Advertisement:
  • The Third Circle, reserved for those who over-indulged in food, drink and addictions in the world above, placing such things above all things including their fellow man, forced to slosh around forever in the vile muck that made up most of the circle.
  • The Fourth Circle, where the hoarders and wasters joust back and forth constantly with huge bags of money, wailing and gnashing their teeth.
  • The Fifth Circle, meant for people who succumbed to anger and sorrow, is filled with inhabitants so controlled by their emotions that they alternate between mindlessly attacking every person around them and hopelessly sinking to the bottom of the Circle's filthy waters. This see-saw of destruction and despair continues for eternity.
  • The Sixth Circle of Hell, which contains the City of Dis, a massive fortress made of stone coffins where heretical souls are on fire. Because of their heresy, they're trapped in burning tombs.
  • The Seventh Circle, appropriately for punishing the violent, has some very brutal punishments.
      Advertisement:
    • The first ring is meant for people violent against their proverbial neighbors. It contains the Phlegethon, a river of boiling blood filled with murderers, warmongers, plunderers, and tyrants. It gets worse: if somebody rises too high from the river, they get shot by the centaurs patrolling the banks.
    • The second ring is for people who were violent against themselves. It contains the Wood of the Suicides, a dark, scary forest full of gnarled trees and dangerous thorns. Where are the people? Well, they are the twisted, broken trees. Oh, and they still bleed and feel pain, which is a problem since the trees are constantly being attacked by harpies. It's also made clear that, when the Last Judgment comes and the damned are given back their bodies (to amplify their suffering for the rest of time), those in the Wood of the Suicides don't get their bodies back. Instead, their bodies will be hanging from one of their branches.
      • Speaking of the second ring, it also contains the violently profligate. They get eternally chased through the Wood of the Suicides by ferocious hounds, who savagely maul them when they catch them.
    • The third ring is meant to punish those violent against God, art, and nature. It's a huge, sandy desert where fire constantly rains down from the sky.
  • The Eighth Circle of Hell, Malebolge, which punishes the fraudulent and malicious. It's probably the closest the poem gets to depicting Fire and Brimstone Hell, and it puts many other similar portrayals to shame.
    • In the first ditch, the panderers and seducers are forced to march, single file around the circumference of their circle, constantly lashed by horned demons.
    • In the second ditch, flatterers are forced to wade forever in human waste.
    • In the third ditch, simoniacs are punished by being half buried with their legs sticking up in the air and their feet burned.
    • In the fourth ditch, astrologers, sorcerers and seers have their heads twisted backwards, forcing them to walk in reverse.
    • In the fifth ditch, grafters are tossed into a river of boiling tar. Should they try to escape, imps will stab at them with pitchforks.
    • In the sixth ditch, hypocrites are forced to walk around with heavy robes made of lead.
    • In the seventh ditch, thieves are punished by having snakes forever bite them. Those who get bitten explode but they always regenerate.
    • In the eighth ditch, deceivers who gave false advise are punished by having their tongues forever burned.
    • In the ninth ditch, those who perform schism are forced to bear horrible, disfiguring wounds inflicted on them by a great demon with a sword.
    • In the tenth ditch, the falsifiers are forced to endure horrible diseases.
  • The entrance to the Ninth Circle is guarded by 30-35 foot tall giants, mostly from Greek Mythology. Even after all he's seen in Hell, Dante is rather freaked out by this, and even says that he's glad giants don't exist on Earth anymore, and that the only big creatures that still exist are relatively harmless ones like whales and elephants.
  • The Ninth Circle of Hell, meant to punish traitors, is a huge frozen lake called Cocytus. The inmates here are trapped in the lake's ice.
    • Some people aren't just trapped in the lake, but frozen together. Dante and Virgil come across a count who was condemned to a dungeon by an archbishop for betraying Pisa. While that was an act of betrayal, the archbishop also betrayed him by throwing his sons in too, who it's implied the count ate to survive. Their punishment is to be frozen together, with the count eating the archbishop's head forever.
    • The most disturbing part about the Ninth Circle? You don't come here when you die. The moment you commit an act vile enough that it lands you here, your soul is immediately dragged out of your body and down into the ice, while the vacant shell you left behind is occupied by a demon. Dante learns this when he meets Friar Alberigo, a man he knows back on Earth who's still alive, yet is already half-frozen.
  • The final part of the Inferno, where the three worst traitors, Judas, Brutus, and Cassius, are being eternally chewed in Satan's three mouths in the very center of hell.
  • Satan himself is pretty terrifying. While he's nearly mindless and doesn't even notice Dante and Virgil, he's still Kaiju size (Dante states that the giants they met before would only be about as big as his arm), and has three heads.
  • The nightmare fuel doesn't stop when Dante and Virgil leave Hell. When visiting the second terrace of Purgatory, meant for the envious, they see that the souls in it have their eyes sewn shut.
Top