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The Inferno by Dante Alighieri - Barron's Booknotes
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CANTO XXII

Dante and Virgil set off with their escort of demons. Dante
sees the sinners surface slightly in the river of pitch, and then
hide at the sight of the demons who try to fork them out. One
of the Barrators does not duck fast enough and is hooked by
one of the demons. The demons torment him for a while.
Hoping to gain his freedom, the sinner offers to lure others
from the moat to where the demons will have more luck
finding them. The demons agree, but the sinner takes
advantage of their momentary lapse of attention to dive back
into the pitch and escape. Two of the demons, furious at being
duped, begin to fight each other so viciously that they both
end up in the pitch. The poets, fearing the unpredictable wrath
of the demons, leave quickly and continue on their way.



You can see here that, as orderly and contained as Hell might
appear, there is no justice, order, or discipline in Hell's ranks.
When the guards themselves turn on each other with savagery,
you see all at once the nature of this place, the
untrustworthiness of the fraudulent, and Dante's feelings about
the lack of integrity and dignity of the Florentine officials who
banished him. You will also see here, as well as farther down
in Hell, why Dante is often called the "master of the
disgusting."

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The Inferno by Dante Alighieri - Barron's Booknotes
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