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Very good on the incremental nature of the descent into sin! I find the opening cantos particularly moving, and apt, as they capture the emotional and intellectual state of being lost--and of needing salvation--that anyone (especially in middle age?)--can face. The "dark wood" is such an evocative image.

As Dante the Pilgrim goes deeper and deeper into Hell, he moves farther and farther away from God. After we contemplate the various sins, their hierarchy and their punishments, symbolic or otherwise, this is still the bottom line: to be away from God is to be in Hell.

I look forward to your next commentaries, Mike.

Thanks, Dan.

It's interesting to note that moving away from God -- and deeper into Hell -- is also the only way to get closer to God, for Dante. He needs to get to the 9th circle and rappel down Lucifer's flank to come out on the other side of the world and the mountain of Purgatory.

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As so often, a journey into the unknown had revealed more about the traveller's home than about the destination.

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