Inferno Canto 21




Andrew Moran is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Dallas. His research interests include Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, and Evelyn Waugh, and he teaches courses in Dante and Medieval Literature.

Questions for Reflection

  • Dante’s journey through the malebolgia of circle 8 seems to invoke a different tone from other parts of the infernal journey. Why do you think that is?
  • What are the demons of malebolgia like? Are they some kind of grotesque comic relief or is Dante revealing something to us through them about the effects of fraud on human persons and the ability to live together?
  • How do we see themes of authoritarianism, the dissolution of social relationships, and friendship playing out in this canto?
  • How is Virgil as a guide in this canto and those immediately following? Are we seeing some failure in his leadership? If so, why would Dante choose to depict Virgil in this way?


  • Dr. Andrew Moran
  • University of Dallas
  • Run Time 9:31