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Dante's Divine Comedy (Dante's Divina Comedia)

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Dante's Divine Comedy (Dante's Divina Comedia)

  1. 1. What would it be like when I die?
  2. 2. Dante’s Divine Comedy One of the Best Poems of European Literature
  3. 3. Type of Literature Late Medieval Literature (Dante finished shortly before his death in 1321 AD) Originally written in the Italian vernacular “Divine” indicates subject matter “Comedy” indicates style of poem – Starts off oppressive but ends on a happy note – Not written in an elevated style, such as that of Homer’s Illiad or Virgil’s Anead
  4. 4. Dante: The Poet, Politician and Theologian
  5. 5. Dante’s Early Life Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) Born in Florence on May 29, 1265 1274 - meets and falls in love with Beatrice Portinari (source: Vita nouva) 1283 - he marries Gemma Donati and they have four children 1280 - fights with the Guelf League and defeats the Ghibellines of Arezzo
  6. 6. Dante Meets Beatrice
  7. 7. Dante’s Middle Life 1290 - Beatrice Dies 1292 - Dante writes the Vita nuova a collection of sonnets and odes inspired by his love for Beatrice. 1295 - Joins the guild of the apothecaries for the purpose of entering public life. 1300 - Dante is prior for two months (15 June- 15 August), one of the six highest magistrates in Florence.
  8. 8. Dante’s Late Life 1302 - The Black Guelfs seize power in Florence. Dante is banished from the city for two years and forever excluded from public office. 1304 - Dante writes De vulgari eloquentia, his path-breaking history and rhetoric of vernacular literature. 1306 - Probably the year in which Dante interrupts the Convivio and begins the Comedy.
  9. 9. Dante’s Late Life Continued 1314 - Publication of Inferno. 1315 - Dante works on Purgatorio and Paradiso, and composes the Questio de acque et terra. 1319 - Dante moves to Ravenna, where he is the guest of Guido Novello da Polenta, lord of that city 1321 - Dante falls ill on return from Venice, where he had been sent as ambassador by Guido Da Polenta, and dies September 13 or 14.
  10. 10. Dante’s Inspiration Dante’s love for Beatrice inspired him to write sonnets and odes in Vita nouva. Dante pledged when he felt he was able to write a great piece of literature he would dedicate to her memory. The Divine Comedy was written for her. Dante and Beatrice never had anything more than an emotional relationship.
  11. 11. Dante’s Divine Comedy
  12. 12. Numbers in Medieval Society Numbers were extremely important in Medieval Society. 100 is the square of 10, and is therefore considered the perfect number. The number 3 was associated with the Trinity and 9 was important as the square of 3.
  13. 13. Structure of the Divine Comedy Contains three great divisions – Cantica One: Hell (Inferno) – Cantica Two: Purgatory (Purgatorio) – Cantica Three: Paradise (Paradiso) Each Cantica contains thirty-three cantos with an additional canto in Inferno serving as a prologue 33 + 33 + 33 + 1 = 100 cantos
  14. 14. Structure of the Divine Comedy The three greater divisions or canticas were to represent the Trinity. The number 9, the square of three, figures centrally in the interior structure of each of the three divisions. – There are nine circles in the Inferno – There are nine ledges in the Purgatorio – There are nine planetary spheres in Paradiso
  15. 15. Structure of the Divine Comedy Dante varied the lengths of the individual cantos for a purpose: – The canto length in the Inferno is chaotic, this parallels the chaos between souls and God. – The canto length becomes more standardized in Purgatorio, this parallels the state of the soul and God – The canto length in Paradiso is uniform, this parallels the harmony between the souls and God.
  16. 16. The Nature of the Divine Comedy
  17. 17. Allegory and Journey Allegory is a story operating at a literal and symbolic level, each character and action signify the literal as well as represent an idea. The Divine Comedy is a narrative that details the journey of one man, Dante, through Hell, Purgatory and Heaven.
  18. 18. Allegory and Journey Dante represents every human. The journey represents rejection of sin (Hell), redemption of the soul (Purgatory), and finally the unification between soul and God (Heaven). The journey mirrors medieval Catholic theology and philosophy.
  19. 19. The Journey The poem begins on the night before Good Friday in the year 1300, "halfway along our life's path.”  Dante is thirty-five years old, half of the biblical life expectancy of 70 (Psalms 90:10), lost in a dark wood ), assailed by beasts (a lion, a leopard, and a she-wolf)( the self-indulgent, the violent, and the malicious) he cannot evade, and unable to find the "straight way“ – also translatable as "right way" – to salvation (symbolized by the sun behind the mountain).
  20. 20. Dante is at last rescued by Virgil, and the two of them begin their journey to the underworld. Each sin's punishment in Inferno is a contrapasso, a symbolic instance of poetic justice; for example, fortune-tellers have to walk with their heads on backwards, unable to see what is ahead, because that was what they had tried to do in life:
  21. 21. Important Note: Virgil represents Reason, which can take Dante only through Hell and Purgatory. Beatrice, or Divine Revelation, must take Dante through Heaven.
  22. 22. Dante & Virgils Journey Dante, guided by Virgil, heads down into the Inferno. Hell is an inverted cone, wide at the top and narrow at the bottom. Dante and Virgil travel through Hell and Dante recounts the sights of sinners being punished in ways that symbolically fit the sin.
  23. 23. Virgil leads Dante through the gates of Hell, marked by the haunting inscription: “abandon all hope, you who enter here”
  24. 24. Structure of Inferno (cross section)
  25. 25. Structure of Inferno There are 9 concentric circles in Hell. Hell is geographically divided into Upper Hell and the Lower Hell by the Walls of the Dis.
  26. 26. Walls of Dis
  27. 27. Four Areas of Hell, Four Types of Sin Hell is theologically divided into four sections: –Opportunism (vestibule/outside hell) –Sin of Paganism (circle 1) –Sins of Incontinence (circles 2-6) –Sins of Violence (circle 7) –Sins of Fraud (circles 8-9)
  28. 28. They enter the outlying region of Hell, the Ante-Inferno, where the souls who in life could not commit to either good or evil now must run in a futile chase after a blank banner, day after day, while hornets bite them and worms lap their blood.
  29. 29. Vestibule: Opportunism Sin: choosing neither right nor wrong. Punishment: floating around outside Heaven, Hell and Purgatory chasing a banner (opportunity) being stung by bees (conscience or guilt).
  30. 30. Circle One: Limbo Sin: Not knowing Jesus Christ Punishment: No physical torments, only the emotional torment of never knowing God or experiencing Heaven (no hope).
  31. 31. Circle I – Limbo Unbaptized and virtuous pagans who did not accept Christ. Limbo is a somewhat pleasant place, with fields and a castle. Denied God's presence for eternity
  32. 32. Famous Icons Trapped in Limbo Homer Ovid Lucan Horace
  33. 33. Incontinence: Circles 2-6 Sins of incontinence are irrational sins against God. Sins in which people give into their physical or emotional urges without regard to rational thought or moral consequences.
  34. 34. Circle 2: Sins of Lust Sin: Lust or Adultery Punishment: To have one’s soul float around in a whirlwind, just as one gave into physical desires.
  35. 35. Circle 2 – The Carnal or Lustful -The sinners are sentenced to their punishment by Minos
  36. 36. The Suffering of the Carnal •The Lustful…indulged their passions beyond reason. •trapped forever in a violent storm, never to touch anything again. •Features the lovers Francesca and Paolo Famous Lovers: (Semiramis, Dido, Cleopatra, Helen, Achilles, Paris, Tristan) Lancelot and Guinevere…
  37. 37. Circle 3: Gluttony/Gluttonous Sin: to give into one’s physical desires to eat and drink regardless of consequences Punishment: To be bloated and mired in filth, while filth rains down from the sky
  38. 38. Circle 4: Avarice & Prodigality (Hoarders & Wasters) Sin: Hoarding (greed) or Wasting (prodigality) without thought to consequence. Punishment: Souls of misers push rocks into the rocks pushed by spendthrifts
  39. 39. Circle 5: Anger Sin: Wrathfulness or great anger in life Punishment: to be immersed in the filthy river, Styx, and constantly tear at one another Sin: Sullen, those who refused to welcome the light of God into their hearts Punishment: To forever be buried underneath the Styx, never seeing light.
  40. 40. Crossing the River Styx Phlegyas -The Slothful are eternally trapped beneath the swampy water of the River -They reach out and try to pull you into the swamp… Dante glimpses Filippo Argenti, a former political enemy of his, and watches in delight as other souls tear the man to pieces.
  41. 41. Virgil and Dante next proceed to the walls of the city of Dis, a city contained within the larger region of Hell. The demons who guard the gates refuse to open them for Virgil, and an angelic messenger arrives from Heaven to force the gates open before Dante.
  42. 42. Circle 6: Heretics Sin: Heretics who denied the idea of immortality (they thought the soul died with the body) Punishment: To exist eternally in graves in the fiery morgue of God’s wrath
  43. 43. Circle 6 The Heretics -The heretics denied immortality, and therefore denied God. - They are entombed in flaming graves for eternity (since they believed the soul dies with the body, they will suffer that fate in Hell). Dante encounters a rival political leader named Farinata
  44. 44. A deep valley leads into the First Ring of the Seventh Circle of Hell, where those who were violent toward others spend eternity in a river of boiling blood. Virgil and Dante meet a group of Centaurs, creatures who are half man, half horse.
  45. 45. Circle 7: Violence (The Violent & Bestial) Circle 7 is an area divided into three separate rounds, each round is an area in which specific groups of sinners are punished. Round One: The Violent Against Neighbors Round Two: The Violent Against Themselves Round Three: The Violent Against God, Nature and Art
  46. 46. Circle 7 The Violent and the Bestial
  47. 47. Circle VII - Outer Ring The Violent Against Neighbors -Murderers and Warmakers are immersed in boiling blood (symbolic of the blood of those they killed). -Centaurs guard the banks and shoot arrows at anyone who tries to escape Virgil and Dante meet a group of Centaurs, creatures who are half man, half horse. One of them, Nessus, takes them into the Second Ring of the Seventh Circle of Hell, where they encounter those who were violent toward themselves (the Suicides)
  48. 48. Still on Circle 7– Middle Ring The Violence Against Self -The Wood of the Suicides -Their souls are encased in thorny trees. - The harpies feed upon their leaves. These souls must endure eternity in the form of trees. Dante there speaks with Pier della Vigna.
  49. 49. Image of a Harpy
  50. 50. Circle VII – Middle Ring The Violent Against God -The blasphemers, sodomites, and usurers all committed a profane act against God -They are lain over burning sand or forced to ceaselessly run around in circles -The sky rains fire symbolic of God’s wrath Dante meets his old patron, Brunetto Latini, walking among the souls of those who were violent toward Nature (the Sodomites) on a desert of burning sand.
  51. 51. The monster Geryon transports Virgil and Dante across a great abyss to the Eighth Circle of Hell, known as Malebolge, or “evil pockets” (or “pouches”); the term refers to the circle’s division into various pockets separated by great folds of earth.
  52. 52. Circle 8: The Fraudulent and Malicious Circle 8 consists of 10 bolgias or pockets. They are often referred to as malebolges, or ‘pockets of evil.’ Each pocket or bolgia is where a group of specific sinners is punished.
  53. 53. Ten Malebolgias of Circle 8 1. Seducers and Panderers Run forever in opposite directions and are whipped by demons
  54. 54. 2. Flaterers Lie up to their necks in human feces 3. Simoniacs Those who mocked the church are placed head- first in flaming holes
  55. 55. 4. Sorcerers (Astrologers or Diviners) Their heads are put on their bodies backwards. 5. Grafters Trapped in a lake of burning ditch
  56. 56. 6. Hypocrites ~ Made to wear brightly painted lead cloaks ~ Caiaphas, the priest who confirmed Jesus’ death sentence, lies crucified on the ground 7. Thieves ~ Chased by venomous snakes and who, after being bitten by the venomous snakes, turn into snakes themselves and chase the other thieves in turn
  57. 57. 8. Evil Counselors Eternally trapped in flames ~ Dante speaks to Ulysses, the great hero of Homer’s epics, now doomed to an eternity among those guilty of Spiritual Theft (the False Counselors) for his role in executing the ruse of the Trojan Horse. 9. Sowers of Discord/ Sowers of Scandal and Schism ~ Their bodies are ripped apart, healed, and they destroyed again
  58. 58. 10. Falsifier Alchemists, counterfeiters, and perjureres are cursed with disease
  59. 59. Thieves Sowers of Discord Simoniacs Falsifiers
  60. 60. Virgil and Dante proceed to the Ninth Circle of Hell through the Giants’ Well, which leads to a massive drop to Cocytus, a great frozen lake. The giant Antaeus picks Virgil and Dante up and sets them down at the bottom of the well, in the lowest region of Hell.
  61. 61. The Path to the Ninth Circle... You must be lowered into the pit by the Giants Antaeus and Nimrod…
  62. 62. Circle 9: Treachery Circle 9 includes four areas called rounds: Round 1: Treacherous to Kin Round 2: Treacherous to Country Round 3: Treacherous to Guests & Hosts Round 4: Treacherous to Their Masters The Center: Satan
  63. 63. Circle 9 – Treachery (Compound Fraud)
  64. 64. Circle 9 - Caina You travel across the frozen lake of the 9th circle of Hell… Caina features those who betrayed their family… They are frozen up to their necks in ice… They cry eternally for those they betrayed…
  65. 65. Circle 9 - Antenora Antenora holds those who betrayed their country… Your fear rises as you travel closer to the lair of the Devil… Dante meets Count Ugolino, who spends eternity gnawing on the head of the man who imprisoned him in life.
  66. 66. Circle 9- Ptolomea Ptolomea holds those who betryaed their guests… Their tears freeze instantly and pierce their eyes…
  67. 67. Circle 9 - Judecca The Lair of Lucifer Traitors to their Lords… Lucifer’s three faces eternally consume the bodies of Brutus and Cassius for betraying Caesar, and Judas Iscariot for betraying Christ… There is only one path for you to take now…
  68. 68. A huge, mist-shrouded form lurks ahead, and Dante approaches it. It is the three-headed giant Lucifer, plunged waist-deep into the ice. His body pierces the center of the Earth, where he fell when God hurled him down from Heaven. Each of Lucifer’s mouths chews one of history’s three greatest sinners: Judas, the betrayer of Christ, and Cassius and Brutus, the betrayers of Julius Caesar.
  69. 69. Escape from Hell Virgil leads Dante on a climb down Lucifer’s massive form, holding on to his frozen tufts of hair.
  70. 70. Dante Emerges from Hell Eventually, the poets reach the Lethe, the river of forgetfulness, and travel from there out of Hell and back onto Earth. They emerge from Hell on Easter morning, just before sunrise.
  71. 71. Would you like to spend eternity in hell? 
  72. 72. Questions for Understanding Why does the poet start the epic with “midway in our life’s journey”? What can that phrase signify if we consider other phrases like “straight road” and “alone in a dark wood”?
  73. 73. What relevance does the lion, leopard, and she-wolf have for the narrative? What could they stand for?
  74. 74. Why does the poet make the character travel on the season of commemoration? Would the story have a different effect if Dante traveled at a different time?
  75. 75. In what ways does Dante represent a person living in the late 13th century?  In what ways does he represent all people?

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