Purgatory and Dante's Divine Comedy - ILLUSTRATIONS OF GUSTAVE DORE

Making their way through the various parts of the Inferno, Dante and Virgil come to the "Ninth Circle of Hell." There they see a gigantic figure trapped in ice. It is Satan. Seeing the Devil trapped in ice, unable to move, was not something Dante had expected. We can track what happens in the story, which we find in Canto 34 (Of Dante’s Divine Comedy). Gustave Dore created this engraving to be included in a version of the Divine Comedy which was published in 1890. Click on the image for a full-page view.


Gustave Doré, a respected French artist so prolific that hundreds of books contain his illustrations, had a special passion for Dante. By the time he finished his drawings for The Divine Comedy, he had created 136 plates.

Although he illustrated the entire work, Doré seemed to favor the Inferno. Drawn hundreds of years ago, his pictures still resonate:

  • At the beginning of his journey, Dante is alone.  (The Dark Wood of Error - Canto I, 1-2)
  • Virgil - who will guide Dante for part of the trip - soon appears, and the two companions start off together.  (Canto I, 132)
  • Because Dante's first objective is to recognize sin, he must initially descend to the Inferno. For the unsuspecting, the gate of hell looks innocuous.  (Canto III, 9)
  • Phlegyas, a ferryman on the Styx (river of the underworld), gives Dante and Virgil passage. (Canto VIII, 27-29)
  • Dante sees the flaming red towers of Dis, capital of Hell. (Canto VIII, 110-111)
  • Those who have harmed their neighbors—and have been violent against them—must atone for their past sins. Those guilty of Avarice must also pay. (Canto VII, 65-67)
  • As they continue their travels, Dante and Virgil see firsthand (Canto XXIX, 79-81) that the Inferno is a gross, terrible place (Canto XXXII, 97-98).

Since Dante's Divine Comedy has been in print since the 14th century, it follows that many rare copies exist. Notre Dame University has one of the best collections of those priceless books. Let's take a look at some of the copies.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Jul 01, 2004

Updated Last Revision: Jun 23, 2019

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"ILLUSTRATIONS OF GUSTAVE DORE" AwesomeStories.com. Jul 01, 2004. Feb 28, 2020.
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