WHEN I was in graduate school, our professor required us to read Dante’s Divine Comedy, which was a three-part epic that dealt with Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven. It was heavy stuff and it took quite an effort for someone like me to read it. Honestly, I read it because it was required, never really got to understand it but it introduced me to a phrase called “in media res,” in the midst of things. That is another story.
Recently though, I accidentally stumbled across Dante’s Inferno while doing some research. (How I got to the topic of hell is again, another story.) This time, perhaps because of age, the Inferno became interesting. Rather than bore you with details, let me share with you the levels of Hell according to Dante. There are nine levels in the epic.
The first level is Limbo. It is reserved for those who never knew God. Strictly speaking, it is not really hell because the torment is not so bad. What is felt heavily is the absence of God. Here Dante meets Socrates, Ovid, and Julius Caesar.
The second level is Lust. Well, we really do not have to explain that, do we? Interesting to note that Dante meets Paris, Achilles, and Cleopatra and perhaps your favorite porn star in this level. The punishment there is endless and violent wind.
The third level is Gluttony. Those people who overindulge in everything. At this level, Dante finds a lot of ordinary people rather than characters in epic poems and mythology. It would not be a surprise to find people here who go to buffets and eat like there is no tomorrow. We all know someone like that. And oh yes, the punishment? Well, you get to be bombarded with rain, hail, and black snow.
The fourth level is Greed. Again, Dante finds a lot of ordinary people here. There are four sub-levels in Greed. The Hoarders. Perhaps, you may find the barangay leader who takes his “share” and leaves you with just two packs of instant mami and sardines. His, I mean, their punishment is they are forced to push boulders of sardines, I mean rocks to the center of the circle.
The second sub-level is Spenders. Perhaps, you may find those whose idea of heaven in their lives was SALE! Punishment? Remember the Hoarders who pushed rocks to the center, well the spenders get to push them back from the center of the circle! Interesting the connection between spenders and hoarders.
The Fifth Level is for the Angry. There are two levels.
The Wrathful. Here you may meet those who always post on Twitter and Facebook. Anything that happens can be a cause of their madness, well according to their political colors that is. The punishment for the angry is they fight one another on the waters of the River Styx.
The second sublevel is reserved for the Sullen, the bad-tempered, the sully, and the gloomy. And that would practically be everybody in social media. Their punishment is they lose internet signal. But seriously, because they are such morose people, they are sunk to the bottom of the River Styx.
(To be continued in Part 2)