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Inferno Canto 8 verses 27-29

Illustration for Dante's Inferno 8 by Gustave Doré. This painting shows perfectly the human sloth. In fact, in Dante's hand, by analogy, as in life, the lazy (or wrathful bitter), retained only anger without knowing advantage of the beauty of the world, now they can no longer enjoy the beauty of words and the air that surrounded them in life, and this will be immersed in the Stygian marsh, without being able to speak or see the air for eternity.

Slothful Dwarf is based off of one of the Seven Deadly Sins. Sloth (Latin, Socordia) can entail different vices. While sloth is sometimes defined as physical laziness, spiritual laziness is emphasized. Failing to develop spiritually is key to becoming guilty of sloth. In the Christian faith, sloth rejects grace and God.

Sloth has also been defined as a failure to do things that one should do. By this definition, evil exists when good men fail to act. Over time, the "acedia" in Pope Gregory's order has come to be closer in meaning to sloth. The focus came to be on the consequences of acedia rather than the cause, and so, by the 17th century, the exact deadly sin referred to was believed to be the failure to utilize one's talents and gifts.[citation needed] Even in Dante's time there were signs of this change; in his Purgatorio he had portrayed the penance for acedia as running continuously at top speed.