As they can’t continue ascending Purgatory after dark, Dante and Virgil rest overnight in a valley with rulers. In the morning, Dante has been carried up to the gate into Purgatory itself.
From the fraudsters in the last rottenpocket of the eighth circle of Hell, they move on the ninth circle of the treacherous – a frozen lake. Paintings by Doré, Blake, Bouguereau, and Fuseli.
From thieves, Dante and Virgil move on to meet souls of those who had committed fraud, including Ulysses, a headless troubadour, and an alchemist.
From barrators, being hacked at by a pack of devils in their boiling tar, through hypocrites wearing habits weighted with lead, to thieves being tormented by snakes. Sheer hell.
These sinners are on barren sand, flakes of fire falling on their exposed flesh. Having spoken to some, Dante and Virgil board the monster Geryon.
Dante and Virgil pass the Minotaur and move into the seventh circle, where murderers and highwaymen are immersed in boiling blood, and Harpies torment those who took their own lives.
After the Furies appear at the gate of Dis, an angel opens the gate, and Dante and Virgil see the tombs containing those guilty of heresy.
Here, the rain comes down in sheets, with snow and large hailstones. First an encounter with the three-headed monster dog Cerberus, then a chat with an old acquaintance.
The anger of Achilles almost brought the Greek war against Troy to a grinding halt. But is Homer’s account fair, or was there more to it?
Blake did not exercise his genius and vision in isolation. Here are some paintings by those who influenced him most.