The Divine Comedy Questions and Answers
by Dante Alighieri

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How do the structure of The Divine Comedy and the poetic form that Dante uses reinforce his spiritual themes? Can you identify a pattern?

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Dante's poem is a masterwork in medieval numerology, with profoundly deep intellectual and structural similarities related to where a particular sin or virtue is addressed. The overall theme of the poem involves becoming one with God, or one with the Trinity, or three in one. The poem thus uses multiples of three and one in significant ways.

As others have noted, Dante's masterpiece contains three different epics of the after world—Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso, comprising one complete poem. The number three mystically represents the Christian trinity, yet one also represents the unity of God. Each individual poem contain thirty-three cantos, with one prologue . Christ was thirty-three when he died, and this was considered the perfect age, or the age one would be in the afterlife (don't overthink that). One hundred was a perfect number (10 x 10), so his trilogy is complete. Cantos that are multiples of ten often have instructional matter that relates to understanding the...

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