"And many folk has caused to live forlorn "

(Canto 1, line 51)

As noted, the wolf represents greed, which to Dante is very dangerous. Saint Paul writes in 1 Timothy 6:10, "For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows."

Modern commentator Reggio notes that Dante believed greed to be the fundamental reason for the regrettable state of society: the thing that had caused the corruption of the church and marginalization of righteousness. Dante believed that society lacked a strong emperor, who could create peace and a sense of honour in the world.