Why does Dante use the number "3" mutiple times in "Dante's Inferno"?
For example the 3 heads, 33 cantos, satan's 3 faces... etc
3 Answers | Add Yours
Think in terms of the trinity, and you've got one reason. One of the major mysteries of the Christian faith is how the divinity can be three in one: father, son, and holy spirit. In Satan's three faces, Dante gives us an inverted trinity. Other trios also come from Christian theology. It is not Dante who invented purgatory, which gives a tri-part afterlife, but the larger Christian tradition. Likewise, when he finds himself in the middle of the forest and his life at the start of the poem, he is given a natural triad: the present, the past, and the future.
three is an important number. dante expresses a lot of religious beliefs and 3 stands for the holy trinity! 3 books with 33 cantos plus the 1 canto as a preface equals 100.
Dante also writes in terza rima-verses of three lines with the rhyme scheme aba bcb cdc. It's a very difficult rhyme scheme to use in English, but it works well in Italian where so many more words rhyme.
Join to answer this question
Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.Join eNotes