One last time – Dante’s Inferno by Gustave Doré

Dante's Inferno by Gustave Doré
Dante’s Inferno by Gustave Doré

Bodies and souls wander in the tumultuous water. The waves accompany the silhouettes towards the depth of the ocean where they will lose their breath and lay for eternity. Dante and Virgil have come a long way to witness the damned endure their fate in Hell. Arms, chests, and hands emerge from the black waters, calling for rescue, a breath of air, or a second chance to redeem themselves, one last time.

Dante and Virgil hold on to one another, terrified by the spectacle composed by the thousands of bodies, flesh and beating hearts evanescing into the depths. They moan and howl, their voices chanting a constant low murmur enhanced with sharper notes. This sound melody echoes far into the mountains and comes back into the ears of the visitors to penetrate and diffuse into their bodies. The barge advances painfully through the corpses, guided by one of the masters of the place. Some of the souls grab the paddle and the edges of the boat as they implore their master to hear them out, one last time.

Dante and Virgil have been warned, but this nightmare exceeds their expectations. Swathed in sorrow and compassion, they stand immobile and mute, their hearts slowing down, compressed, imprisoned and in agony. As they watch the dying men and women drowning into their punishment, they wish they could save their brothers, one last time.

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