Infernopedia
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Nessus was a character seen in Dante's Inferno: An Animated Epic.

Overview[]

Nessus was one of the centaurs that resided around the Phlegethon. She was a friend of Virgil who allowed Dante and him to ride across the treacherous river on her back.

Background[]

The centaur Nessus was best known for his role in the death of Heracles (Hercules), the famous character in Greco-Roman mythology. On Earth, Nessus was the ferryman of a river, carrying people across on his back to the opposite bank. However, when Heracles and his new wife, Deianira, attempted to make this crossing, Nessus began to lust for the beautiful woman. As soon as Heracles had placed Deianira on Nessus's back first to get her across the river, Nessus immediately galloped off into the nearby woods, intending to rape Heracles' bride. Luckily, Heracles was able to track Nessus down before anything happened to Deianira, and the centaur was fatally wounded by one of the hero's toxic arrows.

As he laid dying, Nessus was able to convince Deianira to take some of his blood and bodily fluids, place them on a tunic and give it to Heracles, telling her that it would keep Heracles faithful to her, as the hero was known for his own insatiable womanizing. The blood was actually poisonous and caused the hero unceasing agony once he put on the tunic, eventually leading Heracles to burn himself alive on a funeral pyre to stop the pain. When Deianira learned that she was deceived and her husband slain because of it, she killed herself by leaping off a cliff.

Trivia[]

  • In the film, Nessus was portrayed as a benevolent female, deviating from the original mythic character. She was voiced by Charlotte Cornell.
  • Nessus was also present in the original Inferno, male yet in the same capacity as the film, acting to ferry Dante and Virgil across the Phlegethon.
  • The minor planet 7066 Nessus is named after this mythic figure. In astrological charts, it represents violence, sexual deviations and abusive tendencies.
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