Inferno Quickwrite 1 • What is your definition of hope? How can hope influence daily life? What, if any, are the differences between hope and faith? Defend your answers- Use specific details or examples to support your assertions.
Dante Alighieri 1265 – 1321 The Divine Comedy
Dante Alighieri • Born in Florence, Italy • From an old, relatively distinguished family • Little is known about his early life except for his encounters with a girl named Beatrice
Throughout Dante’s lifetime, the stability of the Italian city-states was continually disrupted by political factions. • The Guelphs and the Ghibellines were rival parties which supported papal rule (governmental rule from the pope) and the Holy Roman Emperors respectively. • By 1300, the Florentine Guelphs were themselves divided into two rival factions: the Blacks, who favored papal authority over Florence, and the Whites(Dante’s group), who wanted independence from papal rule. • Dante was strongly opposed to the involvement of the Church in politics
When the Black Guelphs came to power in 1301, Dante, a White Guelph was banished from Florence. • He traveled for many years, eventually settling in Ravenna, Italy. • The Divine Comedywas written during this period of exile. • He died in Ravenna in 1321.
The Divine Comedy, written between 1308 and 1321, tells the story of an imaginary epic journey through the medieval perception of Hell. . Unlike the journeys in Homer’s Odyssey or Virgil’s Aeneid, Dante’s journey is symbolic, representing the spiritual quest for salvation.
Dante’s story of the soul’s progress toward redemption takes him through Hell (Inferno)—where he recognizes sin and sees the horrors that await sinners Purgatory (Purgatorio)—where he rejects sin and awaits redemption Paradise (Paradiso)—where, having achieved salvation, he sees the light of God
The number three is especially important in The Divine Comedy. The number three represents the Christian Holy Trinity—the union of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in one God. Also, Dante’s three-day journey begins on Good Friday—the day Christ died—and ends on Easter Sunday.
The Divine Comedy has three sections, representing three places or stages of the journey. • Each section has thirty-threecantos (or “songs” / chapters). • There is one introductory canto, for a total of 100 cantos. • 100 is the square of ten, regarded in the Middle Ages as the perfect number. • Dante is 35 years old during his journey- Which means he is “halfway along life’s path”- half of the Biblical life expectancy of 70
Every stanza is atercet — a threeline stanza. • The rhyme scheme is terza rima. Terza rima is an interlocking, three-line stanza form with the rhyme scheme aba bcb cdc ded . . .
Dante and Beatrice Three women guide Dante’s journey: • Jesus’ mother, the Virgin Mary • Dante’s patron saint, Santa Lucia • Beatrice, who leads him into Paradise
Dante met the real Beatrice in 1274, when they were children. He fell in love with her, but she married another man and died in 1290. Heartbroken, Dante vowed to write something about her that would be like nothing ever before written about any woman—The Divine Comedy. Beatrice is Dante’s symbol of love and faith.
The Role of Virgil • Roman poet who wrote the Aeneid, guides and instructs Dante • Revered by Dante as the ultimate symbol of what human reason can achieve • Can never achieve salvation because he’s a pagan • Represents the tension between emerging humanist ideals of the Renaissance and Christian beliefs
Page from the Inferno The Divine Comedy is considered the finest poetry ever written in Italian. Instead of using Latin, Dante chose to write in the everyday language of his readers — the vernacular. Dante’s language is also sparse, direct, and idiomatic — not the lofty, stylized language of most epics and tragedies.
Allegory In an allegory, characters, settings, and events stand for abstract or moral concepts. An allegory tells one story on a literal level . . . Dante’s journey through Hell and Purgatory to Paradise . . . and another story on a symbolic level. the individual’s quest for spiritual salvation
What’s next? • Refer to p.645-648 in the textbook for additional background info. &/or to review/reiterate info. presented here. • Bring your Textbooks! • So, off to the dark wood we go…