Canto 1 The first episode in a series of talks bringing to life Dante’s Inferno, that great journey through Hell and all he sees there. We begin with Dante lost in a dark wood, and explore what it means to be lost, to lose control, to be stuck in the middle of things, and we get introduced to Virgil, who will guide Dante (and us) down through the nine circles of Hell.

Canto 2 Dante pulls back from the journey into Hell, thinking he’s not qualified to survive such an enterprise, but Virgil tells him of the three saintly ladies whose concern for him provides all the qualifications he needs. And we examine the way we can shift from cowardice to courage.

Canto 3.1 In Canto 3 we encounter the hard words written over the Gate of Hell, and then enter into the Infernal Regions. First Dante encounters those souls who never made any choices in life, just following what drew them along, and now we see them doing this in an exaggerated and gruesome way. And we come to the River Acheron, where the newly dead souls wait to be transported over the river where they will then fall down through the levels of Hell into their final place of torment. The discussion of this canto is continued in the second part of this episode.

Canto 3.2 We continue the discussion of Dante’s first encounters in Hell: the puny souls blindly rushing behind a nameless flag, representing most of the people who have ever lived, who have done nothing with their lives; and the fearful souls waiting to be ferried across the river. And why does Dante faint at the end of the canto?

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