Yes, you are right about the distinction of upper and lower Hell, or before
and after Dis. But Dis is between circles V and VI. And the kinds of sins
differentiate three sections of Hell (or four if you separate VIII and IX). If
anyone wants some very useful diagrams of Hell, Dorothy Sayers's
translation isn't too great on poetry or style (at least for me) and it is not, of
course, accurate in the way of a prose version, but it has great notes and
diagrams and glossaries.
Date sent: Wed, 30 Jan 2002 09:30:30 -0700
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From: "Richard Seddon" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: Thoughts on "La Figlia che Piange"
I implied or wrongly said that the 2nd circle of hell is part of Limbo.
It is not. However, souls in the 2nd circle of Hell have not yet gone
across the river Styx to the City of Dis. Dis, of course, is the
traditional Hades. This to my thinking accords them a certain distinction
from souls that have. I have always carelessly thought of everything
beyond Dis as being "True" Hell. You are correct. All souls, including
F&P, beyond Canto 3, are in Hell. Limbo is circle one of Hell and circle
2 through 5 are for sins of incontinence.
Most commentators on "Inferno" do make a major distinction between
prior to Dis and circles after Dis. Many use the terminology Nether Hell
or Under Hell to refer to the circles after Dis. See Iannucci essay "The
Harrowing of Dante from Upper Hell" in Mandelbaum's collection of
commentaries on the Cantos for a very good description of the differences
between Upper Hell and Lower Hell. Whether you want to call this
distinction a "status" or not is your preference.
McIntosh, NM, USA