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Beatrice, a woman with whom Dante is deeply in love, replaces Vergil the poet as Dante the pilgrim's guide through heaven. She is meant to symbolize love, beauty, and spiritual perfection. Through her, Dante is able to understand spiritual love, which replaces his former sense of physical love. This, of course, happens in Paradiso, the third book of the Divine Comedy. She is a historically real person, and some of Dante Alighieri's other works consist of love poems to the woman. She died in 1290, decades before The Divine Comedy was published. She is replaced near the end of the poem, in Canto XXXI, by St. Bernard, who guides the pilgrim the rest of the way.
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