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Dante and The Divine Comedy

an introduction to Dante and his masterpiece

Cathy Olson

on 12 April 2011

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Transcript of Dante and The Divine Comedy

Dante Alighieri 1265-1321
Born in Florence, Italy
Schooled at U. of bologna
here he was exposed to the treat poetic tradition of Rome Soon became involved with political feuds of the time
In 1302, Pope Boniface VIII exiled Dante
He attempted to win favor back, but never was able to return Facts about The Inferno 1. It is the first of three parts of The Divine Comedy. 2. The journey begins
on Good Friday
Beginning Dante is lost in a dark forest. Seems there is no hope.
Ends on Easter Sunday--salvation and hope! Central to the work is Dante's
fixation on the number 3:
Father, Son, Holy Spirit
Writen in three parts; each part has
thirty-three cantos
Each canto is composed of three-lined poetry 3. Dante must travel through Hell to find this salvation
He is lead by Virgil, who has been sent by Beatrice 4. In Hell, Dante meets various sinners who give him warnings on sins to avoid. Construction of Hell
There are 9 "rings" of hell
Each level the punishment grows more severe--it fits the sin First circle: Limbo
unbaptized and virtuous pagans Second circle: Lust
Blown around by ceaseless wind Third circle: Gluttony forced to lie in a vile slush produced by ceaseless foul, icy rain 4th Circle: Greed "… I saw multitudes
to every side of me; their howls were loud
while, wheeling weights, they used their chests to push.
They struck against each other; at that point,
each turned around and, wheeling back those weights,
cried out: Why do you hoard? Why do you squander?' 5th Circle: Anger In the swamp-like water of the river Styx, the wrathful fight each other on the surface, and the sullen lie gurgling beneath the water, withdrawn "into a black sulkiness which can find no joy in God or man or the universe Souls struggle on the river Styx, fighting with each other, or struggling under the surface. 6th Circle: Heresy
sinners are trapped in flaming tombs 7th Circle: violence
has three inner rings
outer ring: violence against property
middle ring: violence against self
inner ring: violence against god (blasphemers) and nature

8th Circle: Fraud Circle 9: Treachery Three worst traitors:
Judas Iscariot Satan he had three faces: one in front bloodred;
and then another two that, just above
the midpoint of each shoulder, joined the first;
and at the crown, all three were reattached;
the right looked somewhat yellow, somewhat white;
the left in its appearance was like those
who come from where the Nile, descending, flow An allegory--page 621 of text
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