Presentation on theme: "Who was Dante? Lived from 1265 to 1321 Started Divine Comedy in 1309 Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradiso Diplomat who spoke the language of the people Christian."— Presentation transcript:
Who was Dante? Lived from 1265 to 1321 Started Divine Comedy in 1309 Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradiso Diplomat who spoke the language of the people Christian who knew the importance of the Classics Philosopher who wanted his work to be enjoyed Entertainer who wanted his work to teach a lesson Politician who truly practiced ETHICAL LEADERSHIP Boy who never outgrew his crush on Beatrice Portinari Sad old guy dealing with a mid-life crisis
Dante’s KATABASIS In the middle of our life's way I found myself in a wood so dark That I couldn't tell where the straight path lay. Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita mi ritrovai per una selva oscura, chè la diritta via era smarrita.
Allegory of Canto I Wanders through dark woods at age 35 Kicked out of his native city with no job Scared by leopard, lion, and then she-wolf Dante feels hopeless, but a man approaches him Look… it’s the shade of Vergil himself! Vergil can take him to Hell and to Purgatory “Someone else” will guide him through Heaven Dante’s life is… wait for it… a ROAD to salvation! The “dark wood” = a life not ruled by morality Vergil = morality, reason, pietas
Dante’s Background Italy in Dante’s time North Italian city-states largely independent Strong papal influence rivaled imperial authority Each city had factions favoring either emperor or Pope Durante “Dante” degli Alighieri (1265-1321) Minor noble family, extremely well educated One of the rulers of Florence in 1300 Picked the emperor’s side over the Pope’s – oops Spent his life in exile after 1302 Started Comedy in 1309
Dante and PUBLIC AFFAIRS CULTURAL COMPETENCE: Dante was highly educated in both Latin (the high language) and in Italian (the vernacular). As an ambassador, he had to be very aware of each city-state’s particular culture COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: Dante was highly involved in political life, risking his life in military service and on political embassies. ETHICAL LEADERSHIP: Dante chose exile and an in absentia death sentence rather than compromise his principles. He also chose to write his master work, The Comedy, in Italian.
Why comedy? Dante thought of his work as Commedia. The “divine” part was a value judgment courtesy of his readers Commedia = vernacular language, not Latin Commedia = happy ending (Paradiso) Disgust with existing power structures in Italy Disgust with the corruption of the Church Trying to teach to the audience’s attention span, in the way Aristophanes and Sophocles did.
Beatrice Portinari (1266-1290) Born to a wealthy Florentine banking family Met Dante at a May Day party in 1274 They met again in the streets of Florence in 1283 Dante married Gemma Donati in 1285 Beatrice married Simone dei Bardi in 1287 Dante admired her from afar = courtly love Died at the age of 24 in 1290 Obviously Dante could not have known her at all! His “Beatrice” is obviously an idealized creation
TOPOLOGY ABANDON HOPE ALL YE WHO ENTER HERE Vergil = guide (as was Sibyl) Cerberus (Circle 3) = stuffs moufs with mud River Styx and the Furies (Circle 5) Phlegyas (Ixion’s father) = Charon = Urshanabi Scads of gory punishments (contrapasso) City of Dis (collective term for Circles 6-9) = Tartarus Big shout out to Aeneid and the Odyssey
CIRCLES of HELL 1.Limbo, Classical Poets (Homer Ovid Lucan Horace ?) 2.Lust 3.Gluttony 4.Greed and Prodigality 5.Anger and Sullenness 6.Heresy 7.Violence (murder, suicide, blasphemy, sodomy, usury) 8.Fraud (corruption, simony, politics, lies, theft) 9.Treachery and Betrayal
Classical figures Poets (IV): Vergil, Homer, Horace, Ovid, Lucan Heroes (IV): Hector, Aeneas, Caesar Philosophers (IV): Socrates, Plato, Cicero, Seneca Lustful (V): Dido, Cleopatra, Achilles Heretics (X): Tombs of the Epicureans Pagan Prophets (XX): Tiresias with his head on backward Evil Counselors (XXVI): Ulysses (Odysseus) and Diomedes
Questions How is Dante’s katabasis a PUBLIC AFFAIRS katabasis? What sort of sins does Dante consider particularly evil, and why? Does Dante have a system? Where does it come from? What similarities does Dante’sunderworld have with Vergil’s, and what differences? What is Dante’s opinion of Odysseus/Ulysses, and what are his reasons for feeling that way?
CONTRAPASSO Modern Italian contrappasso From Lat. contra (against), patior (suffer) Punishment by something like (or opposite to) the sin Generically = APPROPRIATE punishment Tantalus’s punishment = contrapasso = not Ixion’s Lust hoes of Circle 2 blown around by winds Gluttons of Circle 3 assailed by freezing rain Greedy bastards of Circle 4 roll rocks Odysseus is a burning flame in circle 8
Bertrand de Born You should know that I'm Bertran de Born, so that you Can bring news of me above; I'm the one who misled The young king, who set father against son, and who Acted more wickedly than Achitophel did with David and Absolom. Because I sliced such close bonds in two I now hold my brain dangling from my hand, Cut off—alas—from its vital source In the trunk. By observing me you can understand How the law of retribution takes its course."
Pope Nicholas III He'd brought me to the hole where sorrow Showed itself in fiercely flailing legs, my guide Never dropped me from his side. "You who burrow Into the earth like a pole," I began, "as if to hide Your upper parts, speak if you can, soul." I stood there like a priest beside An assassin at confession—some vile man Fixed upside down who delayed death a moment calling me back. "This was not the plan, Boniface, this was not the plan," he gave vent To his distress. "Why do you already stand here?
Pope Nicholas III (1225-1280) Born Giovanni Gaetano Orsini Belonged to famous, influential Roman family Pope from 1277 to his death in 1280 Remodeled the Vatican and built himself a palace Learned, had a strong character Appointed three of his relatives as cardinals Simony = selling of church offices Not really as bad as Boniface VIII or Clement V Example of Dante’s own personal views getting in
Florentine, died 1264 (one year before Dante’s birth) Imperial supporter (Ghibelline) just like Dante would be Led a Theban style civil war to capture Florence Refused to destroy the city after conquering it Believed in philosophy of Epicurus VOLUPTAS is the greatest good Gods do not exist, and if they do, they don’t care Body was exhumed and executed in 1283 Stuck in flaming casket = death within death
Short Answer Question Identify the lowest circle of your personally designed Public Affairs Inferno. What sin is punished there? Which sinner is punished there? How is the sinner punished? Explain your answer.