Squanderers - featured in two circles?

Lee Smith

New Member
It seems like squanderers can get punished in more than one circle, presumably based on severity?

In Canto VII, Fourth Circle, we have the "Prodigal," who "wheel weights" in semicircles with their chests. It's only semicircles, of course, because their opposite numbers, the "Avaricious," are doing the same on the other half of the circle. They run into each other, turn around, and cry out "Why do you hoard?" and "Why do you squander?" respectively. Forever.

But then in Canto XIII, Seventh Circle, Second Ring, we have the "Violent ... against their Possessions (Squanderers)." The Squanderers are apparently those who "would deny [themselves] your world, gambling away, wasting [their] patrimony" (XI.43-44). Their punishment, apparently, is to run naked through a thorny wood, pursued by black female dogs who will dismember them with their teeth and carry off their miserable limbs.


Well-Known Member
Hi Lee,

I think the difference is not in degree, but in intent.

The prodigal, like the misers, in the fourth circle, have an inappropriate relationship with money. They cannot control their emotions (and actions) around money, just like those who cannot control their emotions around wrath or lust.

Those in the seventh circle are there for malice. Malice leading to violence or fraud against others, themselves or God. Those who squander their patrimony through malice (either towards others - perhaps their parents? Or against themselves - "I am a horrible person, I hate myself. I will harm myself by squandering my patrimony.") are those who are in the seventh circle. Those who just 'worship money' (either through hoarding or prodigality) are not as bad as those who squander their patrimony through malice.