The Divine Comedy Questions and Answers
by Dante Alighieri

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What are the similiarities between The Divine Comedy and Chaucer's Canterbury Tales?

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One important similarity between the two books lies in their respective treatment of the Church. Both Dante and Chaucer were, as with most people at the time, devout Christians. Yet at the same time they were both strongly critical of the rampant corruption and widespread abuses in the Church. The difference, however, lies in how they treated the problem. Chaucer does so primarily through humor; whereas Dante is much more explicitly moralistic and condemnatory.

Pope Boniface VIII is one of the undisputed villains of Dante's Divine Comedy. Appropriately enough, he has been consigned to hell. Dante despised Boniface because he sought to extend the Church's temporal power at the expense of secular authorities. That he did so on the basis of a forged document, The Donation of Constantine, merely added to the offense. Dante's animosity towards Boniface was also intensely personal; he was forced to leave his beloved Florence on account of a squalid power struggle initiated by the pope.

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