Inferno Canto XXIII

Inferno 23

and then to me: ‘O Tuscan, who have come
to this assembly of sad hypocrites,
do not disdain to tell us who you are.’

vv. 91-93

Eighth Circle. Escape from the fifth pit. – The sixth pit: Hypocrites. – The Jovial Friars. – Caiaphas. – Annas. – Frate Catalano.

Dante continued on silently, and Dante compared the adventure of the last canto to Aesop’s fable of the mouse and the frog. However they were afraid that the devils would chase after them, enraged by their humiliating experience. Indeed the Malebranche were in pursuit, so Virgil took up Dante like a mother carrying a child out of a burning house, and slid down to the next valley, where the devils were unable to follow.

The sinners there were dressed in magnificent gilded robes, but the robes were made out of heavy lead and so the spirits wept as they trudged around. Dante asked Virgil to find someone he knew; a spirit overhearing them called out for them to wait for him. Two spirits came up and saw that Dante was alive, then they told him that they and their fellow-sufferers were hypocrites. Dante said he was from Florence, and asked them who they were. They said they were the Jovial Friars, Catalano and Loderingo, who had been chosen to keep the peace in Florence, and had acted hypocritically. Dante began an invective against them, but his attention was caught by a sinner crucified on the ground, so that the lead-bearing spirits walked over him. Fra Catalano said that that man had counseled the Pharisees to let one man, rather than a nation, suffer, and that others in the same cousel were also impaled here.

Virgil asked Fra Catalano how to get out, and he answered that it was possible to climb across the ruins of the bridge that the Malebranche had told them about. Virgil was angered to hear that the devils had lied to them, and he strode off, followed by Dante.

Riassunto in inglese tratto da https://www.gradesaver.com/divine-comedyi-inferno/study-guide/

Canto adopted by BCC Credito Cooperativo Ravennate Forlivese e Imolese

View Dante’s itinerary on the map

Available Resources

Reading of the Canto