illustration of a human covered in a starry sky walking from the sky and plains toward a fiery opening to hell

The Divine Comedy

by Dante Alighieri
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The Divine Comedy Questions and Answers

The Divine Comedy

In addition to personal and practical motivations, Dante had an instructional purpose for writing The Divine Comedy. He wanted to provide lessons to readers about living ethically and following...

Latest answer posted November 14, 2018, 6:53 pm (UTC)

4 educator answers

The Divine Comedy

Human nature is presented in The Divine Comedy as fundamentally sinful. Since man's original ancestors, Adam and Eve, defied God and ate from the Tree of Knowledge, humankind has been mired in sin....

Latest answer posted December 23, 2020, 10:56 am (UTC)

3 educator answers

The Divine Comedy

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...

Latest answer posted December 17, 2019, 5:46 pm (UTC)

4 educator answers

The Divine Comedy

After reaching the ninth sphere of Paradise, where the angels live, Dante enters the Empyrean, a place of light which is beyond matter, where God resides. He says that there his sight was...

Latest answer posted May 5, 2021, 1:16 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Divine Comedy

The ninth circle of Hell is made up of four different areas and its description extends from canto thirty-two to thirty-four. The ninth circle ends in the center of the Earth where Lucifer is stuck...

Latest answer posted December 24, 2011, 2:14 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Divine Comedy

The Divine Comedy is often considered an epic. It is common to associate epics with larger-than-life heroes and grand illustrations of warfare (think of Homer's works), making The Divine Comedy an...

Latest answer posted December 20, 2021, 12:25 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Divine Comedy

Inferno is the first part of the popular fourteenth-century epic poem The Divine Comedy written by famed poet Dante Alighieri. In it, Dante travels through Hell, alongside his trusted friend,...

Latest answer posted July 23, 2019, 2:21 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Divine Comedy

The opening of Dante's work is reflective of the pilgrim who is searching for meaning in life. The search for meaning revolves around the central questions of what defines individual identity and...

Latest answer posted December 12, 2014, 12:08 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Divine Comedy

The message of Dante's Divine Comedy revolves around the ideas that sin has consequences but that people can repent of their sins, receive God's forgiveness, and embrace eternal life. Let's look at...

Latest answer posted December 19, 2021, 12:02 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Divine Comedy

I sense that Dante shares a love with Beatrice by the end of the narrative as one that transcends that of mortal or courtly love. As she becomes his guide through the Paradiso phase of Dante's...

Latest answer posted November 5, 2011, 9:30 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Divine Comedy

In Dante's Divine Comedy and more specifically in the Inferno, the idea of the contrapasso serves as a unifying ironic feature. Unlike a poet such as Chaucer, whose satire is more overt and biting,...

Latest answer posted December 8, 2019, 9:24 pm (UTC)

4 educator answers

The Divine Comedy

The Divine Comedy is composed of three parts: Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso. Each section corresponds to different parts of the Catholic afterlife, covering Dante's journey through them....

Latest answer posted December 21, 2021, 11:35 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Divine Comedy

The Divine Comedy is firstly important as an epic written in the vernacular Italian of its author rather than in Latin, the scholarly language of the period in which Dante Alighieri lived. Latin...

Latest answer posted December 18, 2021, 11:50 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Divine Comedy

Epics traditionally were novels of poetry that followed "the Hero's Journey" plot line and often "invoked the muse." Some of the most famous examples of this prior to Dante's Inferno were the Iliad...

Latest answer posted November 9, 2018, 6:37 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Divine Comedy

Although Virgil is a great poet and the epitome of how good a human being can be based on reason and wisdom alone, he cannot ascend to Paradise because he never became a Christian. Virgil lives in...

Latest answer posted December 19, 2021, 11:27 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Divine Comedy

At its most basic level, the language is straightforward: getting closer to God is good; it makes sense. There is order in God's world (as opposed to the world people live in who do not know God)....

Latest answer posted February 25, 2008, 1:10 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Divine Comedy

Dante's understanding of divine love was entirely in keeping with the prevailing theological and philosophical wisdom of the time. God's creation of the universe was regarded as a loving act, an...

Latest answer posted December 1, 2017, 9:57 am (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Divine Comedy

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...

Latest answer posted December 4, 2012, 6:21 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Divine Comedy

In the Divine Comedy, Dante (the fictionalized version of the poet) has strayed from the right path both literally and figuratively and finds himself in a dark wood. He is unable to make his way...

Latest answer posted June 27, 2021, 8:00 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Divine Comedy

As other postings indicate, the central theme clearly concerns redemption. The poem is incredibly tightly woven with recurring motifs that drive forward that message from multiple angles. Each...

Latest answer posted December 16, 2018, 2:55 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Divine Comedy

Dante's view of salvation is rather complex, in keeping with the numerous strands of soteriology then operating in the world of medieval thought. (Soteriology is a branch of theology that deals...

Latest answer posted August 31, 2018, 12:09 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Divine Comedy

The Divine Comedy is not a comedy in the modern sense, since few readers have found much humor in the poem. It is called a comedy, as opposed to a tragedy, because it has a happy ending, concluding...

Latest answer posted December 21, 2021, 1:58 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Divine Comedy

The relationships that Dante describes between gods and humans can be divided into two broad categories. First, he considers above all the relationship between humans and the Christian God. In...

Latest answer posted August 11, 2019, 6:27 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Divine Comedy

The word contrapasso literally means “suffer the opposite,” and it was coined by Dante to describe the punishments of the sinners in Hell and, to some extent, the purification of the souls in...

Latest answer posted December 20, 2021, 2:50 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Divine Comedy

While journeying through Purgatory, Dante learns a variety of lessons, all of which emphasize the true nature of divine love. Firstly, Dante learns that love is the root of both virtue and sin,...

Latest answer posted December 19, 2021, 11:41 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Divine Comedy

The last canto of Paradiso in Dante's Divine Comedy begins with hymn and prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary, continues with Dante's vision of God, and ends with a reflection on prayer and worship...

Latest answer posted December 18, 2021, 2:53 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Divine Comedy

The number three comes up numerous times and in numerous different ways in The Divine Comedy, particularly in the Inferno. Dante Alighieri encounters three wild beasts before meeting Virgil in the...

Latest answer posted December 21, 2021, 4:08 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Divine Comedy

The Divine Comedy is an example of an epic poem, monumental in length and scale and divided into three sections (Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso). Dante's epic poem is subdivided into cantos (one...

Latest answer posted December 19, 2021, 1:04 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Divine Comedy

In the Paradiso section of his Divine Comedy, Dante guides readers through nine spheres or circles of Heaven and then finally into the Empyrean. Let's look briefly at each of these circles. In the...

Latest answer posted December 19, 2021, 8:04 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Divine Comedy

In The Divine Comedy, Dante portrays different cities in different ways, reflecting personal experiences with the places and his understanding of the morality and spirituality they embodied. In...

Latest answer posted October 3, 2020, 4:29 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Divine Comedy

Gluttony is derived from the Latin gluttire, meaning "to gulp down or swallow." It is one of the Seven Deadly Sins in Judeo-Christian Theology. It is the over-consumption of food, drink, or...

Latest answer posted February 28, 2010, 11:58 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Divine Comedy

The lowest level of Dante's Inferno is not an inferno at all; it is, in fact, frozen solid. Everything and everyone there is encased in ice. At the very bottom level, there is no movement, no...

Latest answer posted December 1, 2021, 1:43 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Divine Comedy

Virgil tells Cato in canto 1 that Dante's journey through Purgatory is to find freedom or liberty. For Dante the poet, liberty was more than simply the lack of constraint or the ability to make a...

Latest answer posted February 13, 2022, 2:27 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Divine Comedy

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...

Latest answer posted April 1, 2020, 4:24 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Divine Comedy

Having witnessed Hell and been purified by his trip through Purgatory, Dante begins his ascent to Heaven, guided by Beatrice. With her, he ascends through the first seven heavens to the Eighth...

Latest answer posted December 18, 2021, 12:12 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Divine Comedy

At this point in Purgatorio, we're well beyond the Valley of Princes which is the last level before the gate that leads to Purgatory proper with its seven terraces (see Cantos 7 and 8). It is only...

Latest answer posted June 23, 2010, 8:13 am (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Divine Comedy

The Divine Comedy remains one of the world’s most popular literary classics because at the time it was written is was the epitome of knowledge and experience. It was also remarkable because Dante...

Latest answer posted January 24, 2010, 11:30 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Divine Comedy

Dante's three-part epic poem is called a comedy because it has a happy ending: Dante climbs to paradise in the final book and witnesses the awe-inspiring, dancing, rainbow-colored beauty of the...

Latest answer posted December 18, 2021, 11:42 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Divine Comedy

Graft is also known as barratry, and may have an etymological connection to the more familiar word "grift" or grifting. Its exact definition is a bit murky and ambiguous, but it generally deals...

Latest answer posted July 19, 2015, 4:39 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Divine Comedy

Canto X takes place in circle 6 of Hell where, according to the principle of cotrappasso, the heretics are eternally tormented as they denied the eternity of the soul. The character who makes the...

Latest answer posted November 22, 2010, 4:14 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Divine Comedy

When Dante Alighieri wrote The Divine Comedy in the early fourteenth century, Europe was going through a time of transition. The Renaissance was still in its infancy, and many medieval...

Latest answer posted May 16, 2021, 5:47 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Divine Comedy

Great question! It is important to define the term "allegory" before answering your query. An allegory is a story that can be read on two levels: the literal and the symbolic. The literal level of...

Latest answer posted April 28, 2019, 5:41 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Divine Comedy

Dante's The Divine Comedy can seem archaic today on some levels. For example, we are likely not concerned with the political infighting of medieval Florence or the destinies of certain medieval...

Latest answer posted December 19, 2021, 11:44 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Divine Comedy

I would add that the number 3 also structures Dante's Comedy and its symbolism is of crucial importance as it represents the Holy Trinity. The structure of the poem is based on the recurrence of...

Latest answer posted July 30, 2010, 8:55 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Divine Comedy

The Divine Comedy often strikes the modern reader as a characteristic product of the medieval mindset, focused on eternal damnation and salvation. However, Dante's views on life and religion were...

Latest answer posted December 21, 2021, 2:36 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Divine Comedy

Dante meets a number of people he knew or who are famous as he enters Purgatory with Virgil. As they arrive at the mountain to Purgatory, they meet up with Cato, whom God has appointed to guard its...

Latest answer posted December 20, 2021, 12:26 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Divine Comedy

The character of Beatrice is based on the daughter of a rich Florentine banker, Beatrice Portinari, whom Dante met and fell in love with at the age of nine. Beatrice first appears in the Vita...

Latest answer posted October 29, 2011, 9:31 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Divine Comedy

In Canto I, Dante, lost in the woods, wants to get to heaven, but his way is blocked by a wolf, a leopard and a lion, which represent his sin. The only way up to heaven is down through hell, the...

Latest answer posted July 14, 2016, 2:39 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Divine Comedy

Let's start with your part two of your question first; that is, the inscription above the Gates of Hell. As Virgil and Dante approach the gate, they read its Latin inscription: Per me si va ne...

Latest answer posted April 22, 2014, 4:11 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Divine Comedy

Saint Bonaventure's Journey of the Mind to God (Itinerarium mentis in Deum) supports the reader's understanding of Dante's Purgatorio by providing the underlying structure and method for the...

Latest answer posted February 27, 2022, 3:47 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

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