Dante considered the act of treason to be the most horrendous sin of all. The ninth ring features Cocytus, a frozen lake, where traitors are encased in the ice at varying depths, ranging from neck deep to complete immersion. Satan, Christendom’s ultimate evil, is housed in the center of this lake for committing the ultimate act of treason: treachery against God.

(The following description was taken from Wikipedia.) Alighieri's Satan has three faces, one red, one black, and one a pale yellow, each having a mouth that chews on a prominent traitor. Satan is represented as a giant, terrifying beast, weeping tears from his six eyes, which mix with the blood and puss of the traitors he's gnawing on. He is waist deep in ice, and beats his six wings as if trying to escape, but the icy wind that emanates only further ensures his imprisonment (as well as that of the others in the ring).

The sinners in the mouths of Satan are Brutus and Cassius in the left and right mouths, respectively. They were involved in the assassination of Julius Caesar—an act which, to Dante, represented the destruction of a unified Italy and the killing of the man who was divinely appointed to govern the world.

In the central, most vicious mouth is Judas Iscariot, the betrayer of Jesus. Judas is being administered the most horrifying torture of the three traitors, his head in the mouth of Satan, and his back being forever skinned by Satan's claws.

This version of Satan is, in my eyes, totally crazy. The finished illustration would end up being a joke no one would find funny. For instance, "Cassius" and "Brutus"? Outside of Shakespeare's "Julius Ceasar", I can't imagine anybody in this day and age caring.

Considering the idea that this interpretation of the Inferno is really my own, I decided to insert myself as the ruler of this domain. In other words, I thought it would be a humorous twist if the roll of "Satan", (ruler of hell), was filled by yours truly.

Of course I still did my best to stay true to the rest of the details from the text. The Satanic version of myself is still imprisoned in the frozen waters of lake Cocytus, I'm still gnawing on Judas Iscariot. Judas' blue and beige robes are based on the colors Leonardo Da Vinci chose for him in "The Last Supper". Also, the knife in Judas' hand is another item I added to help identify the treacherous desciple.

Finally, I chose to have my bears dispersed throughout Cocytus because, like the 8th Ring, the idea and act of "treachery" is also something I regularly explore in my paintings.