As Emily and Professor Jameson crossed the threshold into Hell, they felt a sudden chill in the air, as if they had entered a realm devoid of warmth and light. They heard a loud and ominous voice, reciting the words that marked the entrance to the infernal domain:
“Through me, you pass into the city of woe:
Through me, you pass into eternal pain:
Through me among the people lost for aye.
To rear me was the task of power divine,
Before me, none were created,
Eternal, and eternal I shall endure.
All hope abandon, ye who enter here.”
These words, written by Dante in his epic poem, struck fear and awe into their hearts. They realized that they were about to witness the horrors and torments that awaited the souls of the damned, those who had sinned against God and humanity.
They also realized that they were not alone. They saw other figures, clad in cloaks and hoods, following them into the depths of Hell. They recognized them as members of the order, the guardians of Dante’s universe. They greeted them with respect and curiosity, wondering what secrets they had uncovered in their quest.
They also saw another figure, lurking in the shadows, watching them with a sinister gaze. They did not recognize him, but they felt a shiver down their spine. They sensed that he was an enemy, a threat to their mission. They wondered if he was one of the dark entities that sought to exploit Dante’s creation.
They decided to ignore him for now and focus on their journey. They followed Professor Jameson, who led them through the circles of Hell, explaining the meaning and symbolism of each sin and punishment. He also pointed out the references and allusions that Dante had made to his own life and times, as well as to classical mythology and history.
Emily listened attentively, fascinated by the professor’s insights and knowledge. She also asked questions, eager to learn more about Dante’s world and its connection to their own. She also shared her own observations and interpretations, impressing the professor with her intelligence and creativity.
Together, they conversed about Dante’s vision of Hell, exploring its moral and philosophical implications. They also compared it to other depictions of Hell in literature and art, such as Milton’s Paradise Lost or Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delights.
As they delved deeper into Hell, they witnessed scenes of horror and suffering that shook them to their core. They saw souls being tortured by fire, ice, wind, beasts, demons, and their own guilt. They heard cries of pain and despair that pierced their ears. They smelled blood and brimstone that assaulted their nostrils.
They also encountered some of the most notorious sinners in history, such as Judas Iscariot, Brutus, Cassius, Attila the Hun, Saladin, Pope Boniface VIII, Ulysses, Medusa, Minos, Cerberus, and Lucifer himself.
Some of these sinners recognized them as visitors from another realm and begged them for mercy or salvation. Others cursed them or tried to deceive them with false promises or threats. Some even tried to attack them or drag them into their misery.
The heroes resisted these temptations and dangers with courage and faith. They relied on their knowledge and understanding of Dante’s universe to guide them through the perilous path. They also relied on each other’s support and companionship to keep their spirits high.
They knew that they had to face these trials in order to reach their goal: to unravel the secrets of the Divine Comedy and restore balance to the realms beyond.
They knew they had to traverse through Hell in order to ascend to Purgatory and Heaven.
Then, they had to confront evil in order to embrace good.
They had to descend into darkness in order to rise into light.
To be continued…