Cerrberus In The Third Circle In Canto 6

560 Words3 Pages
In the sixth terrace, the third circle, resides the monster Cerberus. Listed in the notes section of Canto 6, Cerberus is traditionally described as a three-headed dog, whose master was Pluto, King of the Underworld. He was placed at the Gate of the Underworld allowing anyone to enter but making sure no one leaves. In the third circle, Cerberus looms above the souls of the damned, who all lie swollen in the vile slush of putrefaction, or decaying or rotting organic matter. The souls of this circle are sinners of gluttony, people who spent their lives focused only on their craving for food and drink. Dante the Pilgrim describes Cerberus as a true monstrosity, in lines 13 to 33, the “ravening beast” who “howls through his triple throats like a mad dog”. With red eyes, a…show more content…
It says “all of his clamor being in his craving”; Cerberus is only wild, unruly, and angry, because he has an unending greed for food and being fed, which is exactly why all of the souls have been damned to this circle. It also points out in the note before the beginning of canto 6 that he “slavers” over the souls just as they slavered over the food and drink in their lives. Cerberus watches over those that did nothing but fill themselves with food and drink, producing nothing of worth besides waste; they now are surrounded by and live in the kind of waste they may have created. It is also interesting to note the fact that the translator believes that Dante may have been describing Cerberus as a partially-human monster. With references to its “beard” and hands”, John Ciardi believes Dante could have believed that Cerberus had at least one human head, or had human components. It is also mentioned in the notes that it was possible he thought this because of the simile in line 14, “howls through his his triple throats like a mad dog”. If Dante had seen Cerberus as a dog, he would not have compared the howling to a dog, but more likely to another
Open Document