Inferno Canto 32




Isaac Blois is an Associate Professor in the Torrey Honors College at Biola University. He is a New Testament scholar and also studies Jewish theology.

Questions for Reflection

  • Why is the bottom of hell frozen (both narratively and thematically)?
  • Why does Dante need the assistance of the Muses in lines 10-12? How does Dante’s use of the “ineffability topos” heighten the horror of the final circle of hell?
  • What Christian sign of peace and reconciliation is being parodied in lines 46ff?
  • The bottom of hell is far more silent than most of the previous circles. Why might this be? Why would the worst sinners tend to be more anonymous, less verbose? How does Dante read the spiritual condition of the damned in their eyes?
  • Is there any irony in the damned being frozen in the mythological river Cocytus (the river of wailing and lamentation)? Why would Dante deny the damned here the ability to weep?
  • What causes Dante to kick a sinner in the face? What does this say about Dante becoming an instrument for divine justice?


  • Dr. Isaac Blois
  • Torrey Honors College
  • Run Time 8:07