2 Dante's Life Born in Florence in 1265; died in Ravenna in 1321 Met Beatrice circa 1274 Married Gemma Donati in 1289 Elected Prior (highest magistrate, a 2 month post) in 1300 Exiled from Florence in 1302
3 Literary Works De Vulgari Eloquentia, on the origin and development of language De Monarchia, on political theory Convivio, unfinished, a compendium of knowledge Vita Nuova, lyric poems and commentary Commedia , dubbed The Divine Comedy in the 16th century, written from Relates a symbolic pilgrimage through Hell, Purgatory, & Heaven undertaken by the fictitious pilgrim Dante beginning the evening before Good Friday, 1300.
4 DANTE AND The Divine Comedy Dante Alighieri ( )La Divina Commedia (The Divine Comedy)Trilogy: Inferno, Purgatorio, ParadisoWritten in the late Middle Ages, cDante’s home in Florence
5 BackgroundDante wrote The Divine Comedy while in exile due to his involvement with a political party that criticized the corruption of the pope. Dante believed that an emperor should govern affairs of the state while the pope’s power should be confined to religious affairs.
6 Literary Influences Old & New Testament Homer’s Odyssey, and especially Virgil's Aeneid St. Augustine's Confessions
7 ContentsThe Divine Comedy is an account of Dante's own journey through the afterlife (hell, purgatory, and paradise)He is guided by the Roman poet Virgil (1st c. BC) and later by BeatriceThe journey inspired by and directed toward Beatrice, the earthly love of Dante's youthA journey toward salvation
8 Structure in Multiple Layers of Three to Symbolize the Trinity: Three Guides: 1. Virgil, symbol of human reason & poetry, through Inferno & Purgatorio 2. Beatrice, his “pure” human love, through most of Paradiso 3. St. Bernard de Clairvaux, a 12th century contemplative monkWritten in vernacular Italian in terza rima (aba, bcb, cdc, etc.)33 cantos in each canticle (Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso), plus one in the beginning as an introduction = 100.Nine circles of Hell + anteroom = 10; seven levels of purgatory plus three ante-terraces = 10; nine heavenly spheres + empyrean = 10.Three beasts block his path: Leopard, Lion, and She-Wolf.
9 Characters"Peopled" by hundreds of historical, contemporaneous, and mythical figures who had died by the year 1300, but who may have lived centuries before.
11 TimeThe action of the poem begins on Good Friday of the year 1300, at which time Dante, who was born in 1265, had reached the middle of the Scriptural threescore years and ten. It ends on the first Sunday after Easter, making in all ten days.
12 Dante's historical world as hell: civil and international warfarepolitical strugglescorrupt popes seeking power and wealthsale of ecclesiastical offices (simony) and of salvation (indulgences)world of intolerance and persecution (Inquisition founded 1231)religion is abused, and manipulated; greed, pride and violence disguised as holinessprevalence of ignorance, superstition, and fear
13 DANTE'S CRITICISM OF HIS WORLD exposure of the evils of his worldchallenging of Church dogmas, exposing superstitionscreation of a new Humanist philosophy radically re-interpreting Christianitygiving Christianity a human and earthly meaning centered around the idea of lovedemanding the substance of true Christianity in Christian life: love, peace, humility, forgiveness, giving, caring about others, healing the sick, feeding the hungry
14 Dante’s Journey Begins in Hell Concept of contrapasso (sin = punishment), sinning is hellHell is the state of sin; harming others creates a world that is literally hellish for the sinner himself and for othersWe are responsible not only for our own actions, but for the effects they have on others; we are responsible not only for our own salvation, but for the good of society.
15 THE INFERNO Hell is a place on earth Most notable: the popes in hell (Nicholas III, Boniface VIII, Clement V); the keys of Saint Peter opening the gates of understanding of the new symbolism created by DanteRepresentation of hell in earthly, sensory, familiar terms, populated by oneself and those one knowsThe presence of the living human being in hell
16 The Nine Circles of Hell 1. Limbo2. The Lustful3. The Gluttonous4. The Avaricious and the Prodigal5. The Wrathful and the Sullen6. Heretics7. The Violent8. The Fraudulent9. The Treacherous
17 Map of the Inferno Inferno Circle 1 The Virtuous Pagans Circle 2 The Lascivious/Lustful Circle 3The Gluttonous Circle 4The Miserly and the Wasteful against kindred, countryCircle 5The Wathful guests, lords, etc.Circle 6The HereticsCircle 7 The ViolentCircle 8 The FraudulentCircle 9 The Lake of the Treacherous
21 Canto IDante enters hell while alive: Canto I.1 "in the middle of the road of our life“Dante enters hell driven by his own sins (symbolized by the lion, the wolf, and the leopard)A lion: Pride or ambition.A she-wolf: AvariceA leopard: FraudulenceHere he confronts the lion.Illustration by Gustave Doré
22 Canto 1The dark forest of human life, with its passions, vices, and perplexities of all kinds; politically the state of Florence with its fractions Guelf and Ghibelline.Dante as pro-Ghibelline and Imperialist is in opposition to the Guelfs, Papal Party: Boniface VIII., and the King of France, Philip the Fair, and is banished from Florence, out of the sunshine, and into the dark.
23 Canto 4: The UnbaptizedDante is borne across the river Acheron in his sleep, and awakes on the brink of the sad valley of the abyss.He now enters the First Circle of the Inferno; the Limbo of the Unbaptized and those born before Christianity.Here he finds the Philosophers (Aristotle, Plato), classical writers and Avicenna and Averroes.Illustration by Gustave Doré
24 Canto 5: The Lustful Illustration by Gustave Doré Paolo and Francesca Francesca, daughter of Guido da Polenta, Lord of Ravenna, and wife of Gianciotto Malatesta, son of the Lord of Rimini. The lover, Paul Malatesta, was the brother of the husband, who, discovering their love, put them both to death with his own hand. They are condemned to be whirled around in a violent wind.Illustration by Gustave Doré
25 Paolo and FrancescaBy Amos CassioliBy J.A. Ingres
26 Canto 10: FarinataFarinata degli Uberti was the valiant and renowned leader of the Ghibellines in Florence. He believed like Epicurus, that the soul dies with the body, and that human happiness consisted in temporal pleasures; and for this sin he is damned as a Heretic as is Cavalcante, a Guelph.Farinata addresses Dantellustration by Gustave Doré
27 Farinata (con’t)Farinata led the Ghibellines at the famous battle of Monte Aperto in 1260, where the Guelfs were routed, and driven out of Florence. He died in 1264.Guelphs- Papal PartyGhibellines- Imperial Party
28 The Ninth CircleSymbolic of the ultimate cold-heartedness, lack of feeling for othersDante feels half-dead as he experiences the cold blast of Lucifer's beating wingsthen Dante kicks heads, pulls hair, and abuses the souls embedded in the iceDante promises Fra Alberigo to clear the ice from his eyes if he reveals his identity, then goes back on his promise
29 Gravest danger as he becomes treacherous in circle of treachery Dante ensnared in his own sins and contradictionsat this point Dante is effectively entrapped in hell, his heart frozen, his actions identical with those of the treacherous at the bottom of hellthe only way for him to get out: recognizing the sin in himself, seeing the absurdity of his self-righteousness, forgiving and accepting what he hates the mostonly way out: to look into the spiritual mirror, to embrace the body of Satan
30 Illustrated by Gustave Doré The Ninth Circle of Hell: the frozen, circular lake of ice at the bottom of hell and the home of SatanLucifer, King of HellIllustrated by Gustave Doré
32 Description of SatanSatan has three heads—red, black, and yellow—and from his six eyes streams continuous tears. In each of its mouths, Satan gnaws on the worst of the traitors: Judas, Brutus, and Cassius. Virgil abruptly tells Dante that they must leave. Virgil pulls his pupil onto his back and begins to climb down Satan’s hairy body. Virgil continues to climb until they come to a point where Satan’s legs stand upright in a dark cave. Virgil explains that when they climbed down Satan’s side, they passed the center of the center of the earth so that they now stand just below the Southern Hemisphere. Satan stands where he was planted when he originally fell from Heaven. Dante quickly scrambles to climb back to Earth and as he does he sees stars above him for the first time since his journey began.
33 Dante-Satanembrace as symbol of forgiveness of sin, need to sympathize with the suffering (the tears) of the greatest sinnerintrospection and self-recognition: need to look into the center of the mirror-like surface of the frozen lake; what Dante sees there is just himselfDante = Satanthat insight and his capacity to forgive set him freeimplication of the impossibility of escaping hell while his soul is tainted with anger, hate, vengefulness, and self-righteousness
36 PurgatorioSeven circles for the seven deadly sins: pride, envy, anger, sloth, avarice, gluttony and incontinence.Second illustrated ed.Brescia, 1487
37 Paradiso The Paradiso is a place of reward. It is structured on the Seven Cardinal Virtues: Faith, Hope, Love, Prudence, Justice, Fortitude, Temperance.Each virtue is rewarded in one of the spheres that were thought to surround the earth.
38 Canto 33 Paradiso The Visible Presence In this new light of God's grace, the mystery of the union of the Divine and human nature in Christ is revealed to Dante.
39 Canto 33 ParadisoDante looks up into the light and receives a glorious vision of which he feels the emotion of the experience but he cannot recall the details of the encounter. He invokes God to help him recall the scene so that he can tell the world about it. Dante reveals that he saw within the Eternal Light: three circles of different colors reflecting each other.
40 Canto 33 ParadisoDante sees a vision of Christ. The three orbs “of triple hue” reveals the mystery of the Trinity in human nature in the Being of God, the Son mirroring the Father and the Love of the Holy Spirit between them both.In the last lines, Dante moves in harmony with the spheres, with God, and with himself, impelled by divine love.
44 Dante’s Exegetical Method: From Dante’s Letter to Can Grande selection taken from the Geoffrey Chaucer Page“To elucidate, then, what we have to say, be it known that the sense of this work is not simple, but on the contrary it may be called polysemous, that is to say, 'of more senses than one'; for it is one sense which we get through the letter, and another which we get through the thing the letter signifies; and the first is called literal, but the second allegorical or mystic.
45 And this mode of treatment, for its better manifestation, may be considered in this verse: 'When lsrael came out of Egypt, and the house of Jacob from a people of strange speech, Judaea became his sanctification, Israel his power.'For if we inspect the letter alone the departure of the children of Israel from Egypt in the time of Moses is presented to us; if the allegory, our redemption wrought by Christ; if the moral sense, the conversion of the soul from the grief and misery of sin to the state of grace is presented to us; if the anagogical, the departure of the holy soul from the slavery of this corruption to the liberty of eternal glory is presented to us. Con’t next page..}
46 …When we understand this we see clearly that the subject round which the alternative senses play must be twofold. And we must therefore consider the subject of this work as literally understood, and then its subject as allegorically intended. The subject of the whole work, then, taken in the literal sense only, is 'the state of souls after death,' without qualification, for the whole progress of the work hinges on it and about it. Whereas if the work be taken allegorically the subject is 'man, as by good or ill desserts, in the exercise of the freedom of his choice, he becomes liable to rewarding or punishing justice.‘”based on From The Latin Works of Dante, Temple Classics, London, 1904, Epistola X, pp
47 LITERAL -- the everyday meaning MORAL -- educational lessons Summary: a modification and adaptation of the traditional four-fold method of interpretation of Thomas Aquinas ( ):LITERAL -- the everyday meaningMORAL -- educational lessonsALLEGORICAL -- abstract, intellectual, conceptual symbolsANAGOGICAL -- the deepest mysteries of the afterlife
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