In the seventh bolgia of the Inferno, Dante encounters the thieves, who are punished by undergoing an horrific series of Ovid-like metamorphoses in which men are changed into snakes or unidentifiable amalgams of matter. Since theft violates particular justice, which is a dynamic process that coordinates relations, I will argue that Dante properly makes metamorphosis and the lack of relation it creates between the forms that are changed the fitting punishment for thieves. Ovidian metamorphosis, however, can only image the mutations they experience because Dante's sinners have undergone a transformation even before they are changed into snakes. For particular justice, as Aristotle says, is only part of a more general kind of justice which is complete excellence. In the Inferno, this global justice is the final cause of Hell (‘Giustizia mosse il mio alto fattore,’ Inf. 3, 4), and the principle of retribution that establishes the balance between the punishment and crime of those in it. This general justice, I shall argue, also effects a metamorphosis in the damned prior to their particular punishments, a metamorphosis of unbecoming which makes each of them a perverse parody of what God had originally made them. Every sinner in Hell is undergoing a deformation, a disordering movement away from form which unbalances the vital relationship between body and soul that had made him or her human. More precisely, even though we learn from Statius in the Purgatorio that the damned retain the rational soul, it no longer functions as the form of the body, for it has ceased to be that determining element which allows us to understand the one it is in is a member of the species man. Indeed, as the particular transformations of Agnello and Buoso will make clear, the substantial form of all the damned has become less the intellectual soul than the shape of their matter, from which the intellect can no longer abstract any intelligible form. And as their increasing corporeality suggests, the sinners throughout Hell are being transformed into creatures of ever greater density, who lack inner depth, creatures devoid of an animating essence whose powers persist despite outer change.