The main character Dante has felt he has strayed from his life’s path and is having what we call today a “mid-life crisis”. Set around spring time. He stumbles into some Dark Woods and Dante is confused how he got here.
He ended up at the bottom of the hill and is looking up to the sun which at that time represents god because they did not have a scientific explanation why it was there. Dante was climbing towards the light (reaching for god), and on his way up he meets a Snow Leopard. This Snow Leopard represents the Malice and Fraud in Dante’s life. Then Dante later meets the Lion (Violence and Ambition) and She-Wolf(Incontinence).
When Dante sees both he runs down the hill in fear, where he meets a ghost. The ghost begins to tell Dante about himself and Dante realizes that this ghost is his idol, the former poet, Virgil. He is here to guide Dante through a journey to hell and purgatory and possibly Heaven if he is willing to do it and Dante accepts.
Dante and Virgil arrive at the Gates of Hell which has encouraging words like “Abandon all hope,who enter here”. As they enter they hear cries of anguish. As Dante enters the Gate, he sees the cries are coming from tormented souls called the Opportunists, who in their life were selfish and did not decide anything on their own. There also other souls called the Outcasts, they didn’t take side in the Rebellion of Angels, which is the battle between God and Lucifer. The law of Dante’s Hell is the law of symbolic retribution, which means because they sinned they have to be punished.
They have to chase a banner which represents opportunistic people. The punishments for this is represented three different ways based on what they did in the life: Darkness means they have to run in the dark,guilt means the chased by swarms of wasp and hornets, and moral filth means they have maggots and worms eat them alive. After seeing the souls, Virgil and Dante head to 1st River of Hell.