The Divine Comedy

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Ken Wood
WC 1
5/1/2012
The Divine Comedy

The Divine Comedy is commonly thought as one of the many great classics of Western literature. The story describes in much detail Dante’s journey through the nine circles of hell, purgatory, and heaven. The Divine Comedy is a story full of symbolism, dealing with the themes of sin, salvation, and redemption. The description of hell is based on the “Catholic Christian doctrine at the time of the late middle ages and Early Renaissance, the time when Dane wrote this story”. The epic journey begins during the week of Easter in the year 1300, with the traverse through hell starting on Good Friday. Dante’s guide through the different levels is the “eminent Roman poet Virgil in a mythical dark wood; the two poets begin their descent through a baleful world of doleful shades, horrifying tortures, and unending lamentation”.

The Divine Comedy is a poem of epic proportion that was written between 1308 and 1321. Dante Alighieri composed the poem and completed it just before his death in 1321. Dante chose to use his name as the main character, but is not a depiction of himself. However, upon reading the poem one could argue that Dante the characters journey through hell to get to heaven could be a symbol of the real Dante’s exile from Florence. The story is written as a first person account of the journey through the three realms of the dead. Dante chose to use the Roman poet Virgil as his guide through hell and purgatory. However, Virgil cannot continue with Dante into heaven because Virgil died before the existence of Christ, therefore Virgil could not be saved, resulting in his inability to enter heaven. His guide through heaven is his vision of the perfect woman Beatrice. (Beatrice is a woman Dante met during his childhood).

The poem is divided into three parts, each one takes place in a different realm, Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso. Each realm is written as a book, and done in thirty-three cantos, except for the...
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