Analysis of the Inferno of Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy Essay

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Analysis of the Inferno of Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy

The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri is considered by many as the first great

poem in the Italian language and perhaps the greatest poem written in Medieval

Europe. The poem is so famous that one of the minor characters, Capaneus the

great blasphemer, has his name on a mesa on one of Jupiter's moon Io (Blue, 1).

Also, the poem is divided into three canticles, or sections, "Inferno,"

"Purgatorio,' and "Paradisio." For the purposes of this paper, only "Inferno"

will be discussed.

In "Inferno," Dante the Pilgrim is lost. In his wanderings he encounters three

specters, the leopard, the lion, and the she-wolf. Dante runs
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However, again, for the

purpose of this paper, only their occurrences in "Inferno" will be discussed.

These symbols are important in understanding Dante's real meaning and in

understanding how the different ways the story can be interpreted fit together.

Dante, in Divine Comedy, makes it clear to us when he wrote it. His subtle hints

at dating the story allow us to pinpoint the story to Easter Week, 1300. Even

though he never comes out and says it, his language gives it away. In the first

line of the entire poem, Dante tells us how old he is when this occurs. "In the

midpoint of our mortal lives, I find myself in a gloomy wood," here Dante tells

us that he is 35 years old when this occurs (Cary 8). In another part of the

story, Dante tells us about astronomical occurrences that occur in his journey.

Here Dante is describing the constellation Pieces setting. From this we know

that Canto VIII occurs at 6:52 am on the Thursday before Easter. At the

beginning of Canto IX, Dante describes another astronomical occurrence. From

this description of the moon setting, we know that Dante crosses the bridge in 8

minutes because the moon sets that day at 7 am in Florence.

Why is this important? John Carlyle tells us that the chronology of "Divine

Comedy" is one of

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