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Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Nine Levels of Hell - Phantom Hearts

Been working on Phantom Hearts and reading Dante's Inferno, (the first part of Dante Alighieri's epic poem, The Divine Comedy), where he visits the nine levels of Hell (the 14th century version). The nine levels are: limbo, lust, gluttony, greed, anger, heresy, violence, fraud, and treachery.  My heroine travels to Hell and visits a rather updated, ironic version of the rings, which should be a blast to write! So far I've worked out three of the nine, so lots of work to do yet. I thought it might be fun to talk about each level as I move through writing my book. So here is week one's...

RING ONE: LIMBO

This is the place where everyone who is not baptized goes to spend eternity. The grass is green, the place is pleasant, and there is a castle with seven gates represented the seven virtues. (That's a lot of gates!) All the wise men of antiquity live in the castle, of course, including Virgil (Dante's guide), Homer, Horace, Hippocrates, and even Julius Caesar. In other words all virtuous non-Christians. I'm wondering if he wandered the world today who he would meet in purgatory...

During his visit to limbo, he meets Minos, a creature that deals out the fate of those who are descending down to the other eight levels of hell. Minos takes the shape of a giant serpent (of course) and delivers his verdict by wrapping his coils around his body the corresponding number of time to the level of Hell.