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Men, friendship and companionship in Divine Comedy - Essay Example

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Dante's The Divine Comedy, written in the first person, tells of the poet's journey through the realm of afterlife: Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise. In this journey, Dante uses the Roman poet Virgil (Vergilius) as a character in his work who acts as Dante's guide through the Inferno and Purgatorio…
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Men, friendship and companionship in Divine Comedy
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Download file to see previous pages He ends his pilgrimage into vision of "the Love which moves the sun and the other stars. (Michael Novak 2003)" The dual allegory of Commedia is the progress of soul toward Heaven, and the anguish of humankind on Earth. Throughout his journey, Dante's relationship with Virgil becomes more distinct as does that of the other characters who occupy the realm.
In much of Dante's work, he turns the people who he was directly or indirectly associated with in real life into characters in his work. His feelings towards them can only be understood when observing the interactions between himself and the characters. To understand how these real life characters came to be involved in his epic poem, a little of Dante's history must be explained.
Living in Florence, Dante was active in both political and military life. As a youth he entered the army and held several key posts in the Florence government during the 1290's. At this time Florence was politically divided between Guelphs and Ghibellines. The Guelphs supported the church and were conservative, preferring to keep things as they were. The Ghibellines on the other hand supported the German emperor but were relieved of their governance. During this time, the Guelphs whom Dante's family was associated with took the reigns of power. Though born into a Guelph family, Dante believed the church should only involve itself in spiritual affairs and later in life he became more neutral after realizing that the church was corrupt. When the new century dawned, Dante gained position from city councilman to ambassador of Florence. In 1301 when the Black Guelph and their French allies seized control of the city his career ended. The authorities seized Dante's possessions and permanently banished him from Florence, threatening the death penalty upon him if he returned. From this sprang some of his misgivings about those in high positions and used their characteristics and 'sins' in his work. It is during his exile that Dante wrote new pieces of literature. Between 1307 and 1314 he began writing The Divine Comedy where Dante introduces his invention of the three-line stanza as well as himself as a character.
Dante's epic poem consists of three parts, The Inferno being the first. It depicts the journey of Dante, who himself is the hero, through Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise. He writes in the first person enabling the reader to identify and understand deeply the truths he wished to share about the meaning of life and man's relationship with the Creator. Dante's vision stems from personal experience and expresses them through images to convey his analysis of the nature of human existence.
In the poem, Dante is around about the halfway point through his life and he finds himself wandering alone in a dark forest, having lost his way on the "true path" (Spark Notes 2006). In the first lines of the Divine Comedy, Dante says "In the middle of the journey of our life I came to my senses in a dark forest, for I had lost the straight path. (123Helpme 2005) " This is the typical stereotype of today for when a person becomes "lost" or consumed in sin. The sinful life is a dark life and a sinless life is a bright, white, and pure life. Dante's coming to his senses in a dark forest symbolizes his realizing how "lost" in sin he truly is and realizes he needs to do something. He remembers nothing about how he lost his way, but here he is in a fearful dark place. Above, he notices a ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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