The Divine Comedy Questions and Answers
by Dante Alighieri

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Explain the contrapasso, also known as symbolic retribution or "how the punishment fits the sin" in The Divine Comedy.

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The Italian poet, Dante Alighieri (c. 1265–1321), wrote the epic narrative poem Divina Commedia (Divine Comedy) over a period from about 1308-1320. Divine Comedy is divided into three parts, and describes Dante's journey through Hell (Inferno), Purgatory (Purgatorio), and Paradise (Paradiso).

In a notable departure from literary tradition in the Middle Ages, Dante wrote Divine Comedy in the Tuscan dialect of Italian, rather than in Latin. Most texts written at this time were exclusively in Latin. However, Dante reasoned that writing the poem in vernacular Italian would make it more accessible to the general public; only highly educated people could read and understand Latin.

In Inferno, the first part of Divine Comedy, Dante is guided through the nine circles of Hell by the ancient Roman poet Virgil. Prior to Divine Comedy , the general belief was that Hell was a...

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