Saturday, December 4, 2010

Hell - Part3

 Like Dante, Genshin populates his hell with bizarre creatures. In Dante’s  the attributes of the Christian Hell are peppered with references to Hades.  The second, third and fourth circles, for example, are guarded by Minos, Cerberus and Plutus, and the City of Dis by the Furies and Medusa. Also present are the Minotaur, Centaurs, and Harpies, and the Titans of Tartarus guard the pit Genshin’s various levels of hell also have their share of monstrosities.

  There are copper dogs whose eyes are lightning, and whose teeth “are  mountains of swords” with “tusks and tongues that are like thorns of iron”. There are serpents whose barking voices are like a hundred thousand thunderclaps. There is an evil bird the size of an elephant called Emba, and in one level (aptly named the Place of No Joy) there are birds with red hot beaks and dogs with jaws of flaming iron.

  Both hells are also peopled, as it were, with devils. In Dante’s fifth bolgia are the Malebranche (literally ‘Evil Claws’), a band of antic devils  who happily toss public swindlers and grafters into boiling pitch. Similarly, Genshin’s hell crawls with faceless demons that have no faces, as well as “hell wardens” who have sixty four eyes and emit iron balls from the tops of their heads, or have eight oxen heads with eighteen horns attached to each head. 

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