In hell the punishment is just the sin without the illusion

Dorothy Sayers provides an awesome introduction to Dante’s Divine Comedy (in the Penguin Classics edition). Talking about the Black Wind of Canto 5, Lust (‘The infernal whirlwind, which never rests, drives the spirits before its violence; turning and striking, it tortures them….And as their winds carry off the starlings in the cold season, in large full flocks, so does that breath carry the evil spirits here, there, down, up; no hope ever comforts them, not of lessened suffering, much less of rest.‘) she says:

As the lovers drifted into self-indulgence and were carried away by their passions, so now they drift forever. The bright, voluptuous sin is now seen as it is – a howling darkness of helpless discomfort. (The ‘punishment’ for sin is simply the sin itself, experienced without the illusion…)