“Inferno” is the first part of Dante Alighieri’s epic poem, “The Divine Comedy” – parts two and three are “Purgatory” and “Paradise”. Written around 1314 in Florence, “Inferno” describes Dante’s imaginary journey, accompanied by the spirit of the Roman poet Virgil, through the nine circles of Hell. The poem describes the nature of the sinners in each circle, and the punishments they endure. It is a incredible literary work, and is widely regarded as a brilliant allegorical interpretation of the politics of medieval Europe.The New Citizen Feb 29, 2016 (Editor’s Note):
We have recently discovered that an updated version of “The Divine Comedy” has been found hidden in a previously unknown vault of the Smithsonian Institute. While it appears to follow the narrative of Dante’s epic work, the content appears to have been modified. One of our correspondents, was fortunate enough to view a small part of the updated “Inferno” and provide us with the following excerpt:
“It is with much fearfulness that I continue to follow my guide, the stoic Virgil, as we descend further into the rancid underworld of Hell. Having descended through the upper levels – the Circles of Limbo, Lust, Gluttony, Avarice, and Wrath – we came upon the City of Dis, which lies upon the cusp of the lower regions of Hell. From thence, downwards, ever downwards, past the heretics, the murderers, thieves, panderers and hypocrites until we reached our current location – the edges of the final, 9th Circle.
Before us, like so often before, is a strange and freakish sight; Giants, towering from within the Pit of Hell itself. Virgil explains our quest to one of the giants, whose name is Antaeus.
“We must travel through the very bowels of Hell in order to rise upwards and see the light again.”
Antaeus peers down at us. “You may not pass!” he booms.
“But we have come so far!” Virgil cries, “And it has been Okayed with the Big Guy.”
“Yes! So, if you’ll just give us a hand and lower us into the Pit, we can continue our quest and you can go back to doing whatever it is you do.”
The giant shrugs his mighty shoulders, “No can do, I’m afraid. We’re having work done.”
Virgil, for once, is at a loss.
“What kind of work?” I stand on my tiptoes, shouting to be heard over the wails and screams coming from the Pit.
“We’re adding a new ring in the 9th Circle,” Antaeus replies. “It’s for Politicians.”
“But don’t they usually go into the 8th Circle with the panderers, flatterers, and hypocrites?” Virgil has recovered his poise. “Although I do remember a few going in the 4th circle with the avaricious and in the 5th with the Hateful.”
“Yes, yes,” replies the giant, “But we are really running out of space in those Circles – and frankly some of the other sinners were starting to complain. Some of these Politicians need a place where they can go to receive the eternal punishment they deserve, without upsetting the others.”
“Can we get a sneak peek?”
Antaeus shakes his mighty head. The draught causes me to grab onto a boulder for stability.
“Can you at least tell us what kind of punishment the Politicians will get?” Virgil asks hopefully.
Antaeus leans a little closer, glancing around. “Well, from what I understand, it is pure, unadulterated torment and anguish the likes of which they could never imagine even in their most vivid nightmares.”
“Are they going to be buried up to their necks in mud and excrement? Will other sinners eat off their faces and puke them up for eternity?” (I’m beginning to get a bit worried about Virgil. He’s enjoying this a little too much).
Suddenly, there is an immense crack of lightning and roar of thunder loud enough to shatter the very ether and wake the hounds of hell. A cloud of foul, sulfurous gas billows from the depths of the Pit. As Virgil and I cower and hold our noses against the stench, the vapor begins to materialize into a hideous, dark form. Neither man nor beast, covered in oily scales and with huge dark wings, the apparition solidifies. I feel my eyes burning and have to turn away.
“Holy crap!” Virgil gasps, “It’s Lucifer!”
In a voice as dark and hollow as a sepulchre, the Dark One speaks.
“What’s all this bloody noise? I can barely hear the sound of souls screaming in torment!”
In a quaking voice, Virgil explains about our quest. I peek through my fingers, hoping to get a glance at the embodiment of Evil without being consumed. Flaming red eyes glare out of a face so corrupt that I feel bile rise in my throat.
“I’m putting in a new ring,” Lucifer hisses, “It’s for the Politicians whose sins are so grievous that they cannot be contained in one of the other Circles. I’m going to call it Trumponia for the monster who resides there.”
“I have not heard of such a fiend,”
Lucifer laughs, a sound so heinous I can barely describe it.
“The Trump is an abomination that even I could have not thought of in a month of Sundays! He has dry, scaly skin of an eye-meltingly orange stain, a sneer that can curdle ambrosia and a mouth that spews forth such a torrent of hate, lies and filth that even I have blushed. All those who are doomed to spend eternity with the Trump are truly the damnedest of the damned.” Lucifer pauses, “Oh, and it looks like he has a dead wombat on his head.”
“Truly the Trump sounds like a most vile monster,” Virgil shudders, “Maybe we should give him a miss.”
“A wise decision,” agrees Lucifer, “The last thing you need on the way to the light is to be bombarded by his venomous spiel. I should take the right stairwell if I were you; oh and say ‘hello’ to Judas, Brutus and Cassius. Tell them I’ll be back to eternally feasting on their souls after I’ve checked with the architect. I need to be sure that the Ring of Trumponia is soundproofed – even I can’t bear to listen to him.”
With that, The Devil vanishes, leaving only the noxious odor of sulfur in his wake.
After a moment, Virgil turns to me. “Well,” he says, brushing off his robe, “Shall we?”
“Lead on, my friend!”