Divine Comedy-I: Inferno

Evaluate the role of Geryon

canto 17

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Geryon, symbolized fraud itself. His face was human, gracious and honest-looking, but his body was a combination of a bear and a serpent, and his tail had a scorpion's sting.

Geryon appears in classical mythology, but in a different form from Dante's monster: there he is made up of three human bodies, or three heads with one body. In mythology, he is not particularly associated with fraud, but here the connection is quite clear. Someone practicing fraud appears to be just and good, just as Geryon's head is noble in appearance ­ but their hidden motives are evil, just as Geryon's body is bestial, and his tail is venemous. Note that when Geryon lands on the edge of the ravine, he lets his tail hang over the side where it is not seen.