"I am in the Third Circle of the torments.
Here to all time with neither pause nor change
the frozen rain of Hell descends in torrents."

-Inferno Canto VI II. 7-9


The Third Circle of Hell is reserved for that of The Gluttons. The circle of Hell that awaits those who turned their backs on God to do nothing but wallow in excessive indulgence of food and drink. We see Dante & Virgil enter this level and are greeted with a horrific sight, perhaps the first truly grotesque scene we are faced with in La Divina Commedia This circle is guarded by the vicious creature, Cerberus. Truthfully though, they do not need much guarding by what we see described to us. The Circle of Gluttons is a disgusting place, where those condemned as such are destined to drown slowly in their own filth and excrement. At the same time, a freezing rain falls from above mixing with the offal to create a vile, slushy mud.

Within this circle, Dante meets a fellow Florentine man by the name of Ciacco, who refers to his current state as a log given his current condition in this particular circle. He and Dante speak about the events that lead to his exile from Florence. This is important in cementing the fact that in many ways, The Divine Comedy is simply a satirical and often times jabbing instrument aimed at the heart of Florentine politics that Dante Alighieri so despised. His conversation with Ciacco marks the first political prophecy made in The Inferno, foretelling the events that would spark the Guelph schism.

It is through the setting of an endless slushy bog of filth that we see the gluttons such as Ciacco float for eternity. Can we draw from the Circle of Gluttony a similar lesson Ovid tries to deliver to us through his rendition of the teachings of Pythagoras and the subject of food? Regardless of what one thinks, Gluttony was a mortal sin, and just as Lust was an indulgence of passion and gluttony was an indulgence of food & drink. The level Dante & Virgil visit next is for those who craved worldly possessions beyond the love of God.