Whew! We made it through the first 24 Hours of Hell. Well, on a literary level at any rate.
The next section of Dante’s Journey takes place over the next 14+ hours.
Things are about to get even more complicated…
Circle 7 is the first place where we see subdivisions. Circles 8, 9, and 10 are also subdivided.
Circle 8 in itself is it’s own mini-Hell since it has the same number of subdivisions as Hell has circles. It’s also one of Dante’s most famous inventions: Malbowges. These are “pockets” or trenches where the wicked are classified and separated by different kinds of fraud: panderers, harlots, thieves, politicians, and so forth.
Do you think Dante had some strong opinions about fraud?
Malbowges is, I think, after a rather special manner, the image of the City in corruption: the progressive disintegration of every social relationship, personal and public. Sexuality, ecclesiastical and civil office, language, ownership, counsel, authority, psychic influence, and material interdependence–all the media of the community’s exchange are perverted and falsified, till nothing remains but the descent into the final abyss where faith and truth are wholly and for ever extinguished.
Commentary on Canto XVIIIDorothy Sayers
If we look outside of ourselves to the globe at large, Malbowges is everywhere. We can see evidence of it in corrupt politicians, businesses, social media, and more.
It’s eerily similar.
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