Panderers and Seducers Edit
Allow the sight of these ill born souls to strike you: below, the panderers and seducers. - Beatrice
The first ditch of the Malebolge contains the panderers and seducers. Those punished here influenced others to commit sin for their own gain. Their punishment is to march around the edge of the circle being whipped by horned demons to keep them moving.
The second ditch contains the flatterers. Those punished here are those who, like the panderers and seducers, convinced others to sin for their own gain, this time using words. They are immersed forever in a river of human excrement, which represents the words they produced. Among those found here is Thais the harlot, who teased and seduced hundreds of men with her beauty.
The third level of the Malebolge contains the Simonists (sinners guilty of selling positions within the church hierarchy and religious property for personal gain). They are punished by being forced upside down into baptismal fonts and having their feet set aflame. The heat of the flames burns according to the guilt of the sinner. When another soul is sent to this level of the Malebolge it takes the place of one of the others as the one it replaced disappears forever. Found here are several corrupt popes and cardinals, including Pope Nicholas III, who mistakes Dante for Pope Boniface VIII in the poem.
The fourth ditch is devoted to the diviners and fortune tellers. Astrologists, seers, sorcerers and others who attempted to pervert God’s laws to divine the future are punished here. Their heads have been twisted around to face backwards, and thus they are forced to walk backwards around the circumference of their circle for all time. As punishment for attempting to see the future they now can only look behind them. While this mainly is ironic justice for trying to see into the future, it also represents the twisted nature of magic in general. The blind prophet Tiresias resides in this ditch for his sins, along with his daughter Manto. This circle is called Politicians on the PlayStation Portable port.
The fifth level of the Malebolge is the home of the Politicians (extortionists, blackmailers and unscrupulous businessmen: sinners who used their positions in life to gain personal wealth or other advantages for themselves and robbing the rights of others). They are punished by being thrown into a river of boiling pitch and tar, which represents the sticky fingers and dark secrets of their business. In addition, should any of the politicians try to escape the pitch, a horde of demons ("Malebranche", meaning "evil claws") armed with grappling hooks and barbs stands guard over them, ready to tear them to pieces and push them back into the tar..
The sixth level is the punishment for hypocrites. They are forced to wear heavy lead robes as theyare marched around the circumference of their circle. The robes are golden and resemble a monk’s cowl but are lined with heavy lead, symbolically representing hypocrisy: as they degraded others for sin but glorified themselves, they committed the same sins that cripples them in the afterlife with their heaviness. Caiaphas, the Pharisee who insisted on the execution of Jesus, is crucified in this circle, staked to the ground so that the ranks of the lead-weighted hypocrites march across him.
The seventh ditch is the home of the thieves. The ditch is filled with serpents, dragons and other vengeful reptiles that torture the thieves endlessly. The bites of some of the snakes cause the thieves to spontaneously combust, only to regenerate their bodies for further torment in a few moments. Other thieves have their very essence traded with snakes and lizards that bit them, transforming their bodies into twisted snake like versions of themselves, trading their identity with every bite. As thieves stole other people's possessions in life, their very identity becomes subject to theft in the Malebolge.
The eighth level is the home of evil counselors. In this trench, the souls of deceivers who gave false or corrupted advice to others for personal benefit are punished. They are constantly ablaze, appearing as nothing so much as living, speaking tongues of flame. Seen in this ditch is the Greek hero Odysseus, suffering here for his deception of the Trojan horse.
Sowers of Discord Edit
The ninth level is the home of "sowers of discord". Sinners who, in life, promoted scandals, schism, and discord are punished here; particularly those who caused discord within the church or within politics. They are forced to walk around the circumference of the circle bearing horrible, disfiguring wounds inflicted on them by a great demon with a sword. The nature of the wound mirrors the sins of the particular soul; while some only have gashes, or fingers and toes cut off, others are decapitated, cut in half (as schismatics), or are completely disemboweled. Among those who are tormented here is Bertran de Born, who carries around his severed head like a lantern as punishment for the discord he caused between Henry II and his rebellious son Henry the Young King during the Third Crusade.
The final ditch. Falsifiers, those who attempted to alter things through lies or alchemy, or those who tried to pass off false things as real things, such as counterfeiters of coins, are punished here. This ditch has four subdivisions where specific classes of falsifiers (alchemists, impostors, counterfeiters, and liars) endure different degrees of punishment based on horrible, consumptive diseases such as rashes, dropsy, leprosy and consumption.