Divine Comedy - The Trinity in Dante's Inferno Essay

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The Trinity in The Inferno

Dante's Inferno, itself one piece of a literary trilogy, repeatedly deploys the leitmotif of the number three as a metaphor for ambiguity, compromise, and transition. A work in terza rima that details a descent through Nine Circles of Hell, The Inferno encompasses temporal, literary, and political bridges and chasms that link Dante's inspired Centaur work between the autobiographical and the fictive, the mundane and the divine and, from a contemporary viewpoint, the Medieval and the Modern‹Dante's recognition of the Renaissance as our millennium's metamorphic period and of himself as its poetic forerunner (until deposition by Shakespeare).

The Inferno is a work of transition
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Of course, Dante was in exile when he wrote The Inferno, but his journey takes place beforehand. This "presaging" underscores the theme of cyclical time in the epic, that of historical repetition with confused tenses.

The tangle of temporalities is never more evident than in the Sixth Circle, comprised of Heretics. Dante is told of his future difficulties in returning to Florence from exile: "'If they were slow,' he said, Œto learn that art,/ that is more torment to me than this bed./ And yet the Lady who is ruler here/ will not have her face kindled fifty times/ before you learn how heavy is that art'" (X, 77-81). As Mandelbaum points out, "Dante himself learned within 50 months how difficult it is to try to return from exile" (Notes, Canto X, 81). This vision of futurity is also bestowed upon the damned:

"'It seems, if I hear right, that you can see/ beforehand that which time is carrying,/ but you're denied the sight of present things.'/ ŒWe see, even as men who are farsighted,/ those things,' he said, Œthat are remote from us;/ the Highest Lord allots us that much light./ But when events draw near or are, our minds/ are useless; were we not informed by others,/ we should know nothing of your human state./ So you can understand how our awareness/ will die completely at the moment when/ the portal of the future has been shut'" (X, 97-108).

The rhyme scheme of The Inferno also presents the
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