Summary: Inferno, written by Dante Alighieri, begins with Dante straying off down a dark forest which leads him to the entrance of hell. Dante meets up with Virgil, a poet who acts as a guide for Dante as they progress downward through each ring of hell. Each ring is specified for a specific sin, there is the ring for the gluttonous, those who committed suicide, the treacherous, etc. As Dante and Virgil progress they hear the stories of the poor souls who have been eternally damned as well as the demons that perform the tortures. The souls of the damned always are alerted by Dante’s presence seeing as how he is not dead and therefore solid, while the souls that are often referred to as shades are described as “Translucent.” The souls Dante speaks with are famous characters from history, some are more easy to recognize that others. In the end Dante and Virgil actually witness the hideousness of the devil before leaving hell and advancing onward to Purgatory.
This book is definitely not for someone looking for a quick and easy read. Inferno is an extremely advanced story to read and some might not understand what it’s trying to say. However, for those who have read others works of poetry (Inferno is part of an epic which is a really long poem) will be likely able to understand and enjoy it for what it is. I would say that it is definitely easier to visualize and understand than Shakespeare seeing as how Dante doesn’t use metaphors as much. Over all I would recommend Inferno for more experienced readers and those looking for something to challenge themselves with.