9 Things You Should Know About Dante’s ‘The Divine Comedy’

Sep 15, 2021 by

by Joe Carter, The Gospel Coalition:

September 14 was the 700th anniversary of the death of Dante Alighieri, the “father of the Italian language.” A year before his death, Dante completed The Divine Comedy, one the greatest epic poems in Western literature.

Here are nine things you should know about the work that has been considered one of the most essential books of mankind.

1. The poem is an allegory for the soul’s journey toward God.

The Divine Comedy is an epic poem divided into three parts (Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso) in which the author is guided through nine circles of hell (Inferno in Italian) until he reaches Lucifer, then up the seven levels of the mountain of Purgatory (Purgatorio), and finally up through the nine spheres of Paradise (Paradiso).

Allegorically the poem represents the soul’s journey toward God, beginning with the recognition and rejection of sin in the Inferno, followed by the penitent Christian life in Purgatorio, which is then followed by the soul’s ascent to God in Paradiso.

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