Divine Comedy: Novel Summary: Inferno section 26- Inferno section 30
Inferno section 26: Still in the seventh pouch of the Eighth Circle, Dante opens here with an invective against Florence, "Be joyous, Florence, you are great indeed, for over sea and land you beat your wings; through every part of Hell your name extends!" The travelers now move to the eighth pouch where the evil counselors dwell. Numerous flames spread across the darkness like fireflies. Virgil explains that these flames hold the spirits of the sinners. Dante sees a divided flame and asks Virgil to whom this fire belongs. Virgil explains that Ulysses and Diomede share this flame because together they plotted the invasion of the Trojan horse and they also separated Achilles from Deidamia, who died of a broken heart. Dante approaches Ulysses who eagerly recalls the dramatic story of his death at sea.
Inferno section 27: A flame near the flame of Ulysses tries to speak in unintelligible tones. Finally, once it has controlled itself, the flame asks to speak politely and wonders if anyone knows whether there is war or peace in his former Latian land. A Latian himself, Dante jumps into a discourse about the past and present situation in the cities that make up his home region: Ravenna, Romagna, Cervia, Forli, Montagna, and Cesena. According to Dante, most of these cities are misruled. Dante asks for the name of the spirit who eagerly reveals that he was a soldier who became a brother of the order of St. Francis. St. Bonafice asked the spirit, Guido da Montefeltro, to devise a plan to make war against other Christians and absolved Guido for this sin in advance. The war plan was successful but when Guido died a demon claimed his soul because the absolution made by Bonafice was not valid. Guido ends his story and moves away as the poets advance to the next bridge.
Inferno section 28: Here in the ninth pouch of the Eighth Circle dwell the Sowers of Scandal and Schism. Dante warns his readers of the gruesome details that are to follow. As the poets cross this chasm, they first cross paths with Mohammed. Mohammed, disemboweled, speaks of his successor, Ali, who is likewise mangled and circling the chasm for eternity. Mohammed explains that when their wounds heal, a demon wounds them with a sword again and the process starts again. As Dante and Mohammed talk, a large group of spirits crowds around to listen. Mohammed asks Dante to tell one of his living brethren, Fra Dolcino, to supply himself with food so that the Novarese will not be victorious when the winter snows fall. A different spirit to carry the message to Messer Guido and Angiolello that they will be drowned at sea. Yet another shade, whose hands are cut off, enters the discussion. This spirit belongs to Mosca, a leader whose bad counsel began the rivalry between the Guelphs and Ghibellines in Florence. Dante speaks harshly to Mosca who, pained by Dante's comments, sulks away. Finally, a headless sinner approaches the group. This spirit belongs to Bertrand de Born, an evil counselor whose scandal caused a father and son to become enemies. He must now spend eternity pacing the depths of Hell with his brain, that which created the plot, severed from his body.
Inferno section 29: Dante weeps sorrowfully as he leaves the Sowers of Scandal behind. He laments that he had been looking for an ancestor of his whose murder had not yet been avenged. Virgil reveals that he saw Dante's ancestor, Geri del Bello, crouching under a bridge while Dante spoke to the group of shades. Geri, Virgil explains, was so angry about the fact that his death has not been avenged that he refused to speak. Dante still feels sorry for his ancestor but continues to the ninth pouch. At the bridge over this chasm, Dante hears tremendous wails and smells a stench that reminds him of rotting human limbs. Dante and Virgil move to a spot where they can better view the resting place of the Falsifiers. Most of these sinners lie in a grotesque and diseased heap while others crawl about aimlessly. Dante notices two shades furiously scratching scabs off one another as if they were both scaling fish. Dante asks the shades for their names and their stories. The first spirit identifies himself as an alchemist from Arezzo. Minos sent him to this Circle because alchemy is a form of falsifying. The second spirit proudly identifies himself as Capocchio, another famous alchemist.
Inferno section 30: Dante opens this canto with a recount of ancient Greeks who had gone insane as a preface to the following scene: "But neither fury-Theban, Trojan-ever was seen to be so cruel against another, in rending beasts and even human limbs, as were two shades I saw, both pale and naked, who, biting, ran berserk in just the way a hod does when it's let loose in its sty. The one came at Capocchio and sank his tusks into his neck so that, by dragging, he made the hard ground scrape against his belly." The remaining shade from Arezzo explains that the two shades that attack Capocchio belong to Gianni Schicchi and Myrrha. Schicchi and Myrrha reside in the part of Hell reserved for Counterfeiters of Other Persons (another type of falsifying) because they both pretended to be other people. After all of these shades retreat, Dante looks around at other miserable souls. He sees the soul belonging to Master Adam, swollen with dropsy. Master Adam was a counterfeiter of coins in Florence. Dante asks Adam for the names of other sinners nearby. As Adam begins to reveal the names of those around him, one of the shades, insulted by the conversation, attacks Adam. The two start to quarrel while Dante listens quietly. Virgil admonishes Dante for listening to the fight and urges him onward.