Dante Alighieri: a Poetic Descent Into Metaphorical Hell
"Abandon all hope, ye who enter here"
Only through a journey into hell can we hope to attain paradise...
His Early Life:
Dante Alighieri was born under the sign of Gemini, he was thought to be born on May 29, but this is not certain. He was born in Florence, the son of
Alighiero II, his family was one of lower nobility. His mother died when he was a child and his father when he was eighteen. According to him, the most profound event in his youth was when in 1274 he met Beatrice, whom scholars believe to be Beatrice Portinari, a noble woman. It really matter's not who she was, for he saw her infrequently and never spoke to her. Nevertheless she became the focus of his love, and after her death she became his muse. She is a focal point in his works, including La vita nuova(The New Life) and La divina commedia(The Divine Comedy). Dante's education remains an unknown, however his writing skill and knowledge make it evident that he was well schooled. It is thought that he attended Florentine schools but also continued learning on his own. He seemed to be influenced greatly by Brunetto Latini, who has a large part in The Divine Comedy. His early writings attracted the attention of Guido
Cavalcanti, a popular Italian poet of the day, as Dante's skill became more defined the two became friends. It is also thought that Dante studied at the university in Bologna around the year 1285. He became involved in some political altercations, he joined the Guelphs, as opposed to the Chibellines, and he was involved in a battle and emerged victorious. It was around this time, 1290, that Beatrice died, after she died he began studying philosophy, he read the works of Boethius and Cicero. He soon after married Gemma Donati, a member of a noble Florentine Guelph family. He attempted to settle down and forget Beatrice, however he became more and more engulfed in the party scene, he discovered the pleasure