Dante A thirty-five-year-old man, spiritually lost and wandering away from the True Way — the path of righteousness and of God. Dante has become weak and is in need of spiritual guidance. Luckily, a guide is sent to him and he embarks on a spiritual journey to learn the true nature of sin.
Virgil A "shade" residing in the Limbo section of Hell, also known as the first circle. Virgil is a poet of antiquity, much admired by Dante, and the perfect guide for Dante's journey. He is said to represent human reason and wisdom. Virgil is a strong and competent guide but needs Divine intervention to complete the journey safely.
The number following each name refers to the canto in which the character first appears.
Achilles (12) One of the heroes of the Trojan War.
Antaeus (31) Giant slain by Hercules.
Argenti (8) Florentine, bitter enemy of Dante's.
Attila (12) Chief of the Huns. Called "the Scourge of God."
Beatrice (2). The inspiration for Dante's work. She entreats Virgil to save Dante.
Bocca (32) Traitor of Florence. On one occasion he betrayed the Guelphs and caused their defeat.
Boniface VIII, Pope (27) Dante's bitter enemy.
Brunetto Latini (15) Distinguished scholar, beloved friend, and advisor to Dante.
Brutus (34) One of the conspirators in the murder of Caesar.
Caiaphas (23) The high priest who influenced the Hebrew Council to crucify Jesus.
Capaneus (14) One of the seven against Thebes. Defied Zeus and was killed by him.
Cassius (34) One of the conspirators who killed Julius Caesar.
Calvacanti, Cavalcante dei (10) Father of the poet Guido who is Dante's friend.
Guido His son. The father inquires about him in Hell.
Celestine V, Pope (3) Resigned the papal throne, thus making way for Pope Boniface VIII.
Cerberus (6) The three headed hound: guards one of the gates of Hell.
Charon (3) The Ferryman of the river Acheron in Hell.
Ciacco (5) A notorious glutton: his name means "the hog."
Cleopatra (5) Queen of Egypt; mistress of Caesar and Mark Antony.
Dido (5) Queen of Carthage. She was Aeneas' lover.
Diomede (26) Companion of Ulysses in his last voyage.
Donati family (28) A politically powerful family who caused the split in the political parties.
Erichtho (9) Sorceress who conjured Virgil's spirit to help Dante.
Farinata (10) A prominent leader of the Ghibelline party who defeated Dante's party.
Francesca da Rimini (5) Lover of Paolo whose brother slew them in the act of adultery.
Frederick II, Emperor (10) Attempted to unite Italy and Sicily.
Geri del Bello (29) Cousin to Dante whose murder was not avenged.
Geryon (17) A monster who represents fraud.
Gianni Schicchi (3) Aided a member of the Donati family in falsifying a will.
Harpies (13) In mythology, birds with the faces of women.
Jason (28) Leader of the Argonauts in their quest for the Golden Fleece.
Judas Iscariot (34) One of the twelve disciples. He betrayed Jesus.
Mahomet (28) Founder of the Islamic religion.
Malabranche (21) Demons who punish the barrators. The name means "evil-claws."
Malacoda (21) One of the Malebranche. His name means "evil tail."
Medusa (9) One of the Gorgons. The sight of her head filled with snakes turned men to stone.
Minotaur (12) A monster with a bull's body and a man's head.
Nessus (12) One of the Centaurs, killed by Hercules.
Nicholas, III, Pope (19) Successor to Pope John XXI; accused of Simony.
Paolo da Rimini (5) Committed adultery with Francesca, his brother's wife.
Phlegyas (8) Ferryman of the river Styx in Hell.
Plutus (7) God of riches.
Potiphar's Wife (30) Falsely accused Joseph of trying to seduce her.
Ruggieri, Archbishop (10) Traitor who starved Ugolino and his sons.
Satan (34) Also called Lucifer, Dis, and Beelzebub, he is the "Emperor of Hell."
Scala, Can Grande ella (1) Dante's friend and protector in exile.
Sinon the Greek (30) Accused of treachery during Trojan War.
Thaïs (18) A courtesan who flattered her lover excessively.
Ugolino, Count (33) Imprisoned with his sons and starved to death.
Ulysses (26) Legendary hero of Homer's Odyssey.
Vanni Fucci (24) A thief who shocks Dante with his obscenity.
Vigne, Pier delle (13) He was unjustly imprisoned for graft and committed suicide.