Reading of Dante's Inferno
Poet's Corner | St. John the Divine Cathedral, New York City
Inferno (Italian for "Hell") is the first part of Italian writer Dante Alighieri's 14th-century epic poem the Divine Comedy. It is followed by Purgatorio and Paradiso. The Inferno tells the journey of Dante through Hell, guided by the ancient Roman poet Virgil. In the poem, Hell is depicted as nine concentric circles of torment located within the Earth; it is the "realm ... of those who have rejected spiritual values by yielding to bestial appetites or violence, or by perverting their human intellect to fraud or malice against their fellowmen." As an allegory, the Divine Comedy represents the journey of the soul toward Paradise, with the Inferno describing the recognition and rejection of sin.