Inferno Canto 6




Brian Williams is the Dean of the Templeton Honors College and the College of Arts and Humanities at Eastern University. He is the author of The Potter’s Rib: Mentoring for Pastoral Formation, co-editor of Everyday Ethics: Moral Theology and the Practices of Ordinary Life, and General Editor of Principia: A Journal of Classical Education. 

Questions for Reflection

  • The circle of gluttony is guarded over by the mythic beast Cerberus. Why might Dante include creatures from pagan mythology in this Christian poem? Does this reveal anything about how Dante imagines the relationship between Christian truth and pagan thought?
  • How does Cerberus perversely parody the Christian picture of God as Trinity?
  • What does Dante’s depiction of Cerberus and the contrapasso of foul weather suggest about the nature of the sin of gluttony? Why would Dante the poet depict the punishment of gluttony as the most “displeasing” (“spiacente”) of all of the punishments in hell?
  • Why does Dante the poet connect the punishment of gluttony to the discussion with Ciacco about the politics of the city of Florence? Is there a relationship between gluttony and political decay?
  • How do lines 103-111 treat the spiritual bodies of the damned? Will their torment be lessened or heightened at the resurrection of the body? What does this claim reveal about the nature of divine justice as it is exercised in hell?


  • Dr. Brian Williams
  • Templeton Honors College
  • Run Time 12:31