Dante Short Fiction Analysis
Viewed as a whole, The Divine Comedy is a poem of such grandeur that it defies any simple classification. While being related to the great epic journeys of Homer and Vergil, it is like many medieval works relating journeys beyond the limits of this world for the edification and instruction of a sinner. It surpasses those spiritual journeys in that it ranges over the entire culture of the Middle Ages. Simultaneously it is a work of doctrine, science, philosophy, theology, vision, autobiography, praise of women, and allegory. In fact, The Divine Comedy is an encyclopedic compendium of practically all medieval learning. Some have called it the single most significant document inherited from the Middle Ages.
Dante called it a “comedy” both because of its happy ending and its style, which lies between that of the tragedy and that of the elegy. He chose to write it in the Italian of Florence, incorporating into it many Latinisms. From the all-pervading misery, adversity, avariciousness, and corruption surrounding him, he wished to show the path to goodness, the salvation of the human soul guided both by reason and divine grace. Dante intended the work to be read on four levels: the literal, allegorical, moral, and anagogical. Structurally, he wrote the poem in hendecasyllabic lines (eleven syllables) which are grouped in threes to make interlocking tercets; this form is called terza rima (aba, bcb, cdc, and so...
(The entire section is 2703 words.)
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