A very poignant moment in any person's life is when they meet someone who they regard so highly that they place on a pedestal in their mind. If ever there was a doubt of love at first sight, Dante Alighieri disproves the disbelief with his first sighting of Beatrice in his Vita Nuova. When Dante recounts his second encounter with Beatrice he says that she greeted him but does not state how exactly she acknowledged him. The "ineffable courtesy" that she greeted him with implies that the encounter was not spoken.
Through complete silent encounters, the love Dante harbors for Beatrice still continues to flourish. In one of Dante's sonnets he says the following:
"hence I abide impoverished,
in such a way that I fear to speak.
Thus wishing to do as those
who out of shame conceal their want,
outwardly I show joy,
and inwardly at the heart I waste away and weep."
Despite Dante being filled with overwhelming joy by the thought of Beatrice, he never publicly expresses his love for her. The whole essence of Dante's being was accounted for through Beatrice's greetings to him. Although the definition of her greetings is undefined in his accounts, Dante's mood is dependent on his interactions with Beatrice. Through the words in his sonnets, Dante masks his love of Beatrice by faking desire for other ladies. He misuses his words to mask his true love with kind words for screen ladies.
Beatrice defines Dante's being because as far as he is concerned she is the image of divinity and Christ on earth. Dante describes Beatrice as "the destroyer of all vices and queen of virtues." Although no words were ever exchanged between the two, Dante was miserable after Beatrice's death. He wept and mourned her death for a year and yet there was never any substantial interaction of exchanged words to conceive what in this lady's silence to Dante could have possibly sparked such an admiration for her. The depth that he is able to feel for this lady through...
Cited: Cervigni, Dino S. and Edward Vasta. Vita Nuova/ Dante Alighieri; Italian Text with Facing English Translation. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1995.
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