The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri- Only copy the notes • Dante’s Background • Born in Middle Ages Florence in 1265 • Married Gemma Donati and had three children • Two boys-exiled; one daughter who was sent to convent • Died in Ravenna in 1321
Dante’s Career • Dante’s career started in 1295 • There were two ruling families in Florence • The Guelphs—friends of the Pope • The Ghibellines—supporters of the Germanic emperor • The families battled repeatedly for power
Dante’s Career 2 • The Guelphs were in power; the Ghibellines were exiled • The Gulphs had a major fight from within and split into two groups—the whites and blacks • The blacks staged a coup sending Dante ad all the whites into permanent exile • Dante remained in exile for the rest of his life for graft and hostility against the Pope • Dante’s fortunes were confiscated—he lived off of friends for remainder of his life
Writing Career • Was angered over injustices to his life • He wanted it clarified what was good—what was evil • He was bored and began to explore concerns in writing • Wrote The Comedy of Dante Alighieri, Florentine by Citizenship, Not by Morals.
The Characters • Dante • Is a sinner who has wandered from the right road and must get back • Has fallen prey to seven deadly sins: (don’t need to copy sins) • Pride • Envy • Wrath • Acedia (laziness/sloth) • Avarice (greed) • Gluttony • Lust • Dante must compensate for laziness. • If he can overcome his sin, so can you (his message!)
Virgil • Why did Dante choose Virgil as his guide through hell? • Virgil knew hell well as described in his book The Aeneid. • Virgil foretold the coming of Christ and was seen as a mystic who could predict the future, manipulate spirits. • He created the mythology that explained the Roman Empire. • Virgil stands for human reason.
Beatrice • Dante met her at age 9 and fell in love with her • Beatrice was married to an older man • Dante only saw her a few times • She was the embodiment of the spiritually pure • She died at a young age and this sent Dante into a depression • Beatrice sent Virgil to bring Dante out of hell and purgatory in hopes that he can reach heaven
Dante’s Beliefs • Religion: • Believed in one church, the Roman Catholic Church • Believed in heaven, purgatory, and hell
Dualities: • Believed that two extreme opposites exist in most things. • Power of church versus power of state • Philosophy versus religion • Plato versus Aristotle (look for both in this work) • Animals versus man versus angels • Realism versus symbolism • Common language versus elegant language
Physical world: • Believed in Ptolemy’s view of the universe or that the planets circle the earth: • Earth • Moon • Venus • Sun • Mars • Jupiter • Saturn • Starry Heaven • Crystalline Heavens • Home of God
Education • Bible and St. Augustine • Classic Greek and Myths
The Plot • This is Dante’s journey through hell in his attempt to get to heaven • There are three canticles: hell, purgatory, and heaven. • See map
Setting • Hell is a medieval hierarchy, a huge funnel shaped pit that occupies the center of the earth. • Hell is established around Dante’s vision of it. Dante believes man has free will and gets what he has chosen • Hell is an individual’s potential for sin
Form • Comedy- has a positive ending • Epic- long narrative poem of a grand scale involving superhuman upon who the world (or a nation) depends • A Quest- a journey to achieve a prize or knowledge-wisdom
Language and Style • First to write an epic in Italian, not Latin • First to combine low, bawdy language with elevated poetic language • First to consciously use obscene language
Themes • The whole world has meaning, reason, and order • The source of meaning, reason, and order is God’s divine plan. • The divine order is knowable and achievable by humankind. • In sum if you’ll just be good, you can make it to the top or heaven.
HELL:Vestibule: The uncommitted Neither Good nor evil- only for themselves Living in maggots
Acheron River Charon- A monster takes him across
Circle 1 (Limbo): Virtuous unbaptized • Not tormented • Pagans • Virgil joins Dante here • Others include: • Homer • Horace • Ovid
Circle II: Lustful • You’ll be reading Canto 5 for the punishment in this level. • Includes: • Helen, Achilles, and Paris • Tristan and Isolte • Paolo and Francesca • Cleopatra
Circle III: Gluttonous • 3 headed dog Cerberus chasing souls around and eating them • Stinking snow and freezing rain fall • A gigantic garbage dump
Circle IV: Prodigal, Avaricious • Hoarders vs. wasters • Carrying dead weight that they push back and forth between themselves • Plutus- monster who whips them
Circle V (Styx): Wrathful • The river Styx • Constantly fighting • Buried under slim • Pop bubbles so they can speak
Walls of the City of Dis • Furies • Rebellious Angels • Medusa • Split between upper and lower Hell
Circle VI: Heretics • Violence to God • Vast cemetery • Coffins inflamed by fire
Circle VII: Violent against NeighborsViolent against ThemselvesViolent against God, Nature, and Art • Suicides trapped in trees- branches broke to speak and bleed- causes pain • A river of boiling blood • Harpies picking people apart • Burning sand- slow rain • Minotaur eating people
Abyss • A water fall over a cliff • Hell becomes frozen after this
Circle VIII: (Malebolge): • Evil ditches- or trenches that must be crossed • Solg’s • The ten ditches of the Malebolge, in descending order, are listed thus: Bolgia One: Panderers and Seducers are punished here. They are forced to march, single file around the circumference of their circle, constantly lashed by horned demons. • Bolgia Two: Sinners guilty of excessive flattery are punished in this bolgia, immersed forever in a river of human excrement.
Circle VIII: (Malebolge): continued • Bolgia Three: Simonists (sinners guilty of selling church offices for personal gain) are punished here. They are turned upside down in large baptismal fonts cut into the rock, with their feet set ablaze by oily fires. The heat of the flames burns according to the guilt of the sinner. • Bolgia Four: Astrologists, seers, sorcerers and others who attempted to pervert God’s laws to divine the future are punished here. Their heads have been twisted around to face backwards, and thus they are forced to walk backwards around the circumference of their circle for all of time.
Circle VIII: (Malebolge): continued • Bolgia Five: Grafters (peculators, extortionists, blackmailers and unscrupulous businessmen: sinners who used their positions in life to gain personal wealth or other advantages for themselves) are punished by being thrown into a river of boiling pitch and tar. In addition, should any of the grafters try to escape the pitch, a horde of demons ("Malebranche", meaning "evil claws") armed with grappling hooks and barbs stands guard over them, ready to tear them to pieces. • Bolgia Six: Hypocrites are punished in this circle. They are forced to wear heavy lead robes as they walk around the circumference of their circle. The robes are golden and resemble a monk’s cowl but are lined with heavy lead, symbolically representing hypocrisy. Also, Caiphas, the Pharisee who insisted on the execution of Jesus, is crucified in this circle, staked to the ground so that the ranks of the lead-weighted hypocrites march across him.
Circle VIII: (Malebolge): continued • Bolgia Seven: This bolgia houses the souls of thieves. The bolgia is also filled with serpents, dragons and other vengeful reptiles that torture the thieves endlessly. The bites of some of the snakes cause the thieves to spontaneously combust, only to regenerate their bodies for further torment in a few moments. Other thieves are denied human forms and appear as reptiles themselves, and can only assume their true shape if they steal a human shape from another sinner; this involves a very painful transformation for both souls involved. • Bolgia Eight: In this trench, the souls of Deceivers who gave false or corrupted advice to others for personal benefit are punished. They are constantly ablaze, appearing as nothing so much as living, speaking tongues of flame.
Circle VIII: (Malebolge): continued • Bolgia Nine: Sinners who, in life, promoted scandals, schism, and discord are punished here; particularly those who caused schism within the church or within politics. They are forced to walk around the circumference of the circle bearing horrible, disfiguring wounds inflicted on them by a great demon with a sword. The nature of the wound mirrors the sins of the particular soul; while some only have gashes, or fingers and toes cut off, others are decapitated, cut in half (as schismatics), or are completely disemboweled. In the Inferno, Muslim prophet Muhammad is tortured in this ditch. • Bolgia Ten: Falsifiers, those who attempted to alter things through lies or alchemy, or those who tried to pass off false things as real things, such as counterfeiters of coins, are punished here. This bolgia has four subdivisions where specific classes of falsifiers (alchemists, impostors, counterfeiters, and liars) endure different degrees of punishment based on horrible, consumptive diseases such as rashes, dropsy, leprosy and consumption. • The lower edge of Malebolge is guarded by a ring of titans and earth giants, many of whom are chained in place as punishment for their rebellion against the gods. Beyond and below the giants lies Cocytus, hell's final depth.
Giants Well • Frozen and angry Giants who try to kill Dante
Circle IX (Cocytus): Traitors • To kindred, To country, To Guests, To Masters • In Inferno, the first cantica of Dante's The Divine Comedy, Cocytus is the ninth and lowest circle of Hell. Cocytus is referred to as a frozen lake rather than a river, although it originates from the same source as the other infernal rivers. The lake is frozen by the flapping wings of Lucifer, or Satan; his tears replenish the lake, and are then frozen by his attempts to escape via the wings. It is divided into four descending "rounds," or sections: • Caina, after the Biblical Cain; traitors to blood relatives. • Antenora, after Antenor from the Iliad; traitors to country. • Ptolomea, after Ptolemy, governor of Jericho, who murdered his guests (1 Maccabees); traitors to guests. • Judecca, after Judas Iscariot; traitors to masters and benefactors. • Lucifer is at the center of the circle, his lower body trapped in ice, and is depicted with three mouths. One mouth gnaws on Brutus and another on Cassius, the leading conspirators against Julius Caesar, and both are chewed feet foremost with their heads protruding. The chewed head of Judas is in the third mouth.
Works Cited • Alegheri, Dante. The Inferno. Trans. John Ciardi. New York: Penguin, 1982. • “Inferno.” Encyclopedia Reference. Ask.com. Keyword: “Inferno.” 30 Oct. 2008. http://www.reference.com