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The Divine Comedy

an introduction to Dante Alighieri and his literary masterpiece

Richard Spalding

on 22 May 2013

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Transcript of The Divine Comedy

This is Dante Alighieri. This is Florence, Italy, where he lived during the Middle Ages. During Dante's time, Florence was embroiled in a battle between two factions. The Guelphs fought for the Pope; the Ghibellines fought for the Holy Roman Emperor. Dante fought for the Guelphs, who eventually won . . . . . . but then began fighting amongst themselves, splitting into the White Guelphs and the Black Guelphs. Once, while Dante was on a visit to meet with Pope Boniface, the Black Guelphs marched on Florence, destroying much of the city and killing many of their enemies - including members of Dante's family. Dante became an exile, never to return to Florence. Dante began writing The Divine Comedy sometime during his exile. It consists of three parts: Inferno . . . . . . Purgatorio . . . . . . and Paradiso. The three parts combine to tell a story of how Dante (a character in the poem) is taken on a tour of Hell, Purgatory, and finally Paradise. It is a discussion of sin and virtue, an analysis of how our actions on earth have consequences in the afterlife. It is also a political allegory, intended to be Dante's means of retaliating against some of his political enemies and some of the greatest sinners of history. Of the three parts, Inferno is easily the most popular/famous. Inferno Dante envisioned Hell as being a set of concentric circles that descended toward the center of the earth. Each circle represented a layer of Hell that was reserved for specific groups of sinners. There were Nine Circles of Hell in all: Limbo Lust Gluttony Avarice Anger Heresy Violence Fraud Treachery
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