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The Forest and the Opening of Hell The Day Before Good Friday, 1300 Canto I-III Here,

we find Dante, our protagonist, lost in a dark forest that leads downwards. It is unknown how he has come here. He is hindered by three strange beasts, a she-wolf, a lion and a leopard, whom he cannot evade, and is unable to find the straight way. Believing that he is falling into a deep place, he turns back, and is found by the poet Virgil, who promises to guide him through hell, after Dante compels him to take him to see the gate of Saint Peter, and those whom thou makest so afflicted. They reach the river Acheron and cross the river on Charons boat, observing the souls of the damned. There is an earthquake, due to the presence of Dantes soul, and Dante faints. The Further Side of Acheron, The First Circle of Hell Canto IV Dante is awoken by a heavy thunderous sound. He confirms that he has indeed entered Hell, and follows Virgil into the First Circle, Limbo. They walked a short distance when they saw a small fire. Approaching it, they see some famous scientists and poets of Dantes time, such as Homer and Ovid. The newcomers joined the group, and they continued onwards towards a castle that was described to be surrounded by seven walls and surrounded by a small moat. They see more famous faces, such as Caesar, Socrates, Plato, Euclid and Hippocrates. It is described that in Limbo resides the virtuous pagans who, although free of sins, did not accept Christ, and the anabaptized. It seems that they are not truly punished; however, they suffer from their separation from God and must live out eternity in mediocrity. Virgil mentions to Dante that before the death of Christ, Noah and Abraham and other such biblical characters resided in this place before they were liberated by Christ. The Second Circle of Hell, Gluttony