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Dante's Divine Comedy

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comedy, dante

Text of Dante's Divine Comedy

  • Dantes Divine ComedyOne of the Best Poems of European Literature

  • Type of LiteratureLate Medieval Literature (Dante finished shortly before his death in 1321 AD)Originally written in the Italian vernacularDivine indicates subject matterComedy indicates style of poemStarts off oppressive but ends on a happy noteNot written in an elevated style, such as that of Homers Illiad or Virgils Anead

  • Dante: The Poet, Politician and Theologian

  • Dantes Early LifeDante Alighieri (1265-1321)Born in Florence on May 29, 12651274 - meets and falls in love with Beatrice Portinari (source: Vita nouva)1283 - he marries Gemma Donati and they have four children1280 - fights with the Guelf League and defeats the Ghibellines of Arezzo

  • Dante Meets Beatrice

  • Dantes Middle Life1290 - Beatrice Dies1292 - Dante writes the Vita nuova a collection of sonnets and odes inspired by his love for Beatrice.1295 - Joins the guild of the apothecaries for the purpose of entering public life.1300 - Dante is prior for two months (15 June-15 August), one of the six highest magistrates in Florence.

  • Dantes Late Life1302 - The Black Guelfs seize power in Florence. Dante is banished from the city for two years and forever excluded from public office. 1304 - Dante writes De vulgari eloquentia, his path-breaking history and rhetoric of vernacular literature. 1306 - Probably the year in which Dante interrupts the Convivio and begins the Comedy.

  • Dantes Late Life Continued1314 - Publication of Inferno. 1315 - Dante works on Purgatorio and Paradiso, and composes the Questio de acque et terra. 1319 - Dante moves to Ravenna, where he is the guest of Guido Novello da Polenta, lord of that city1321 - Dante falls ill on return from Venice, where he had been sent as ambassador by Guido Da Polenta, and dies September 13 or 14.

  • Dantes InspirationDantes love for Beatrice inspired him to write sonnets and odes in Vita nouva.Dante pledged when he felt he was able to write a great piece of literature he would dedicate to her memory. The Divine Comedy was written for her.Dante and Beatrice never had anything more than an emotional relationship.

  • Dantes Divine Comedy

  • Numbers in Medieval SocietyNumber were extremely important in Medieval Society. 100 is the square of 10, and is therefore considered the perfect number.The number 3 was associated with the Trinity and 9 was important as the square of 3.

  • Structure of the Divine ComedyContains three great divisions Cantica One: Hell (Inferno)Cantica Two: Purgatory (Purgatorio)Cantica Three: Paradise (Paradiso)Each Cantica contains thirty-three cantos with an additional canto in Inferno serving as a prologue33 + 33 + 33 + 1 = 100 cantos

  • Structure of the Divine ComedyThe three greater divisions or canticas were to represent the Trinity.The number 9, the square of three, figures centrally in the interior structure of each of the three divisions.There are nine circles in the InfernoThere are nine ledges in the PurgatorioThere are nine planetary spheres in Paradiso

  • Structure of the Divine ComedyDante varied the lengths of the individual cantos for a purpose:The canto length in the Inferno is chaotic, this parallels the chaos between souls and God.The canto length becomes more standardized in Purgatorio, this parallels the state of the soul and GodThe canto length in Paradiso is uniform, this parallels the harmony between the souls and God.

  • The Nature of the Divine Comedy

  • Allegory and JourneyAllegory is a story operating at a literal and symbolic level, each character and action signify the literal as well as represent an idea.The Divine Comedy is a narrative that details the journey of one man, Dante, through Hell, Purgatory and Heaven.

  • Allegory and JourneyDante represents every human.The journey represents rejection of sin (Hell), redemption of the soul (Purgatory), and finally the unification between soul and God (Heaven). The journey mirrors medieval Catholic theology.

  • Journey and Allegory ContinuedVirgil represents Reason, which can take Dante only through Hell and Purgatory.Beatrice, or Divine Revelation, must take Dante through Heaven.

  • Dante & Virgils JourneyDante, guided by Virgil, heads down into the Inferno.Hell is an inverted cone, wide at the top and narrow at the bottom. Dante and Virgil travel through Hell and Dante recounts the sights of sinners being punished in ways that symbolically fit the sin.

  • Structure of Inferno (cross section)

  • Structure of InfernoThere are 9 concentric circles in Hell.Hell is geographically divided into Upper Hell and the Lower Hell by the Walls of the Dis.

  • Four Areas of Hell, Four Types of SinHell is theologically divided into four sections: Opportunisim (vestibule/outside hell)Sin of Paganism (circle 1)Sins of Incontinence (circles 2-6) Sins of Violence (circle 7) Sins of Fraud (circles 8-9)

  • Vestibule: OpportunismSin: choosing neither right nor wrong.Punishment: floating around outside Heaven, Hell and Purgatory chasing a banner (opportunity) being stung by bees (conscience or guilt).

  • Circle One: LimboSin: Not knowing Jesus ChristPunishment: No physical torments, only the emotional torment of never knowing God or experiencing Heaven (no hope).

  • Incontinence: Circles 2-6Sins of incontinence are irrational sins against God. Sins in which people give into their physical or emotional urges without regard to rational thought or moral consequences.

  • Circle 2: Sins of LustSin: Lust or AdulteryPunishment: To have ones soul float around in a whirlwind, just as one gave into physical desires.

  • Circle 3: GluttonySin: to give into ones physical desires to eat and drink regardless of consequencesPunishment: To be bloated and mired in filth, while filth rains down from the sky

  • Circle 4: Avarice & ProdigalitySin: Hoarding (greed) or Wasting (prodigality) without thought to consequence.Punishment: Souls of misers push rocks into the rocks pushed by spendthrifts

  • Circle 5: AngerSin: Wrathfulness or great anger in life Punishment: to be immersed in the filthy river, Styx, and constantly tear at one anotherSin: Sullen, those who refused to welcome the light of God into their heartsPunishment: To forever be buried underneath the Styx, never seeing light.

  • Circle 6: HereticsSin: Heretics who denied the idea of immortality (they thought the soul died with the body)Punishment: To exist eternally in graves in the fiery morgue of Gods wrath

  • Circle 7: ViolenceCircle 7 is an area divided into three separate rounds, each round is an area in which specific groups of sinners are punished.Round One: The Violent Against NeighborsRound Two: The Violent Against ThemselvesRound Three: The Violent Against God, Nature and Art

  • Circle 8: The Fraudulent and MaliciousCircle 8 consists of 10 bolgias or pockets. They are often referred to as malebolges, or pockets of evil.Each pocket or bolgia is where a group of specific sinners is punished.

  • Ten Malebolgias of Circle 8Bolgia 1: Panderers and SeducersBolgia 2: FlatterersBolgia 3: SimoniacsBolgia 4: Fortune Tellers and DivinersBolgia 5: The GraftersBolgia 6: The HypocritesBolgia 7: The ThievesBolgia 8: The Evil CounselorsBolgia 9: The Sowers of DiscordBolgia 10: The Falsifiers

  • Circle 9: TreacheryCircle 9 includes four areas called rounds:Round 1: Treacherous to KinRound 2: Treacherous to CountryRound 3: Treacherous to Guests & HostsRound 4: Treacherous to Their MastersThe Center: Satan

  • Dante Emerges from HellDante views Satan and proceeds to climb his spiny back to emerge on Earth, not far from the nine ledges of Purgatory.

  • 1st heaven moon- who had made vows of chastity2nd heaven Mercury-lovers of glory3rd heaven Venus-lovers 4th heaven Sun- Theologians5th heaven Mars- martyrs and crusaders6th heaven Jupiter- Righteous rulers

  • 7th heavenSaturn- contemplatives8th heaven Fixed Stars- triumph of Christ9th heaven Primum mobile- nine orders of angels10th Empyrean-

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