The Divine Comedy By Eric Larson & Julia Peacock
DANTE ALIGHIERI 1265-1321 Durante Dante Alighieri was born in Florence in 1265. Dante's epic masterpiece, The Divine Comedy, is divided into three sections, correspondingly named the Inferno (Hell), the Purgatorio (Purgatory), and the Paradiso (Paradise). He began writing the work around 1307.
The Journey Begins:The Dark Wood • Here, the depressed Dante meets Virgil, a spiritual guide for his descent through Hell • Dante is alive; Virgil, long dead, suffers in Limbo because he only believed in reason and intellect, not in God • Virgil is sent by the unseen Beatrice, the true love of the real-life Dante
The Vestibule: The Uncommitted Abandon all hope ye who enter here • All here took no stand, kept no promise, honored no loyalty • The Punishment • Chase an ever-moving flag • Stung by bees and wasps • Once stung, maggots suck the pus from their festering sores
Circle One:Limbo • Virtuous Pagans (like Virgil) and unbaptized babies. • The Punishment: • To never see the face of God
Circle Two:The Lustful/Carnal • Sinners who let their passions control their lives • The Punishment • They are swept away in a dirty, smelly, hurricane-like wind for eternity, just as they were swept away with their lusts in life • Dante meets Francesca and Paolo here
Circle Three: The Gluttons • People who “pigged out” in life – too much was never enough for them • The Punishment • Sinners live in a giant garbage heap, never to leave • If they try to escape, Cerberus, a three-headed dog, grabs them in his huge jaws and throws them back in
Circle Four: The Hoarders/Wasters • Greedy hoarders and immoderate, excessive wasters • The Punishment • Condemned to roll great boulders uphill toward each other • When they meet, sinners must roll the boulders back and start again
Circle Five: The Wrathful and Sullen • Wrathful were always angry in life and the sullen were always sulky and morose • The Punishment • Wrathful fight amongst themselves in a horrible pit of slime • Sullen reside under the river Styx, constantly complain- ing about their fate
Circle Six: The Heretics • Those outside of the Church who said they spoke for or to God (think Joan of Arc) • The Punishment • Fiery tombs
Circle Seven - Round 1:Violent Against Neighbors • Tyrants like Attila the Hun, and murderers • The Punishment • Thrash about in the boiling blood of the Phlegethon River; blood they caused to shed • Centaurs monitor the banks and force back sinners with arrows
Circle Seven – Round 2:The Violent Against Themselves • Suicides • The Punishment • Turned into trees • Harpies, feeding on the trees, peck at their fatal wounds, causing them to bleed profusely
Circle Seven – Round 3:The Violent Against God, Nature & Art • Blasphemers, sodomites and others • The Punishment • Tormented on a burning plain • Arid sands represents the fruitless nature of their sins
Circle Eight:Malebolge • Malebolge loosely translates as “evil pockets” or “evil pouches” • Ten pouches of hell, all with different sinners and punishments • Sins of fraud
Malebolge’s Pouches • POUCH ONE • Panderers and seducers (pimps, etc.) • The Punishment • Demons whip them incessantly • POUCH TWO • Flatterers • The Punishment • Sunk to their necks in excrement
Malebolge’s Pouches, cont. • POUCH THREE • Simoniacs (sellers of church favors) • The Punishment • Think “human candles”: sinners are upside down over baptismal fonts; their feet are on fire • POUCH FOUR • Fortunetellers • The Punishment • Heads are on backwards so these future-lookers may only look back at the past
Malebolge’s Pouches, cont. • POUCH FIVE • Grafters (conmen, etc.) • The Punishment • Immersed in a sticky tar pitch; demons with hooks and claws keep them in the hot liquid
Malebolge’s Pouches, cont. • POUCH SIX • Hypocrites, false piety, didn’t practice what they preached • The Punishment • Wear heavy cloaks that are bright on the outside, but heavy with lead on the inside
Malebolge’s Pouches, cont. • POUCH SEVEN • Thieves • The Punishment • Surrounded by snakes that coil around their hands • Another snake darts out to cut their throat • Explode into flame • Rise up from the ashes only to experience their punishment again.
Malebolge’s Pouches, cont. • POUCH EIGHT • Evil counselors: people who lied to others to gain power, riches, etc. (Ulysses & Diomede) • The Punishment • Hidden in great cups of flame to symbolize their guilty consciences
Malebolge’s Pouches, cont. • POUCH NINE • Sowers of religious, political and family discord: ripped apart peace and tranquility (Mahomet, or Mohammed of Islam, is here) • The Punishment • Ripped apart physically: headless men, gaping flesh wounds, etc.
Malebolge’s Pouches, cont. • POUCH TEN (last pouch) • Alchemists, evil impersonators, false witnesses, counterfeiters: they corrupted all in life • The Punishment • Made to endure every sort of corruption and pain. Darkness, filth, hunger, disease, thirst and noise – never-ending and ever surrounding them.
Circle Nine: Hell (Cocytus) Betrayers. Spread before Dante and Virgil is “a lake so frozen / it seemed to be made of glass” • The Punishment • Here, Hell is a vast, frozen wasteland. Sinners are frozen in the ice for eternity, farthest away from the warmth of God’s love
Hell: Treacherous against Kin • Named Caina, after the first murderer of a family member, the biblical Cain
Hell: Traitors to Country • Known as Antenora after a Trojan prince who conspired with the Greeks to destroy Troy • Here Dante sees Ugolino and Ruggieri • Ugolino and Ruggieri conspired in life to overthrow their city/state • Ruggieri betrayed Ugolino, who was placed in the Tower of Hunger with his sons and grandsons. Ugolino had to watch his family die • In death, Ugolino, still a sinner, is permitted to take his hatred out on Ruggieri's brains as he munches on them for eternity
Hell: Treacherous to Guests and Hosts • Called Ptolomea after Ptolemy, who honored his father-in-law and two of his sons with a feast and then murdered them • Also after Ptolemy XII who granted refuge to Pompey after a great battle, only to murder him when he set foot upon the shore • These sinners’ souls descend to hell and their living bodies possessed by demons as soon as they commit their heinous acts
Hell: Treacherous to their Masters • Called Judecca after the ultimate betrayer, the betrayer of Christ, Judas • Here is Dis, or Satan • Satan was sent to Hell for his own betrayal of God – was an angel before he was a demon • Frozen in ice as his giant wings spread the cold through the deepest of the levels of hell • Satan’s three mouths chomp at the ultimate betrayers: Cassius and Brutus, betrayers of Caesar, and Judas, betrayer of Christ • Remember, this is Hell according to Dante!
The Journey Ends • Dante and Virgil scale Satan’s head to climb out of the rings of Hell • They pass through Lethe, the river of forgetfulness, to wash away the horrors they have witnessed • Dante does not, however, forget that he has had a chance to change his life for the better to avoid Hell • Virgil will guide Dante through Purgatory, but that is another story…
Symbol • A person, place, object, or activity that represents something beyond itself. • Common symbols • Journey to represent life • Night to represent death • Other symbols acquire meaning from text. • Example: The “dark woods” represent Dante’s spiritual condition.
Allegory • This is a literary work filled with symbols. • It has two levels of meaning-a literal level and a symbolic one. • To explore the symbolic meaning, pay attention to details about characters, objects, events, and settings. • Example: She-wolf in Canto I of the “Inferno” represents greed.
Medieval Allegory • Tells of a spiritual quest through an eternal place where the wicked are punished for their evil deeds on earth. • Dante who goes on this journey represents all humans, who is a prisoner of sin and is in danger of losing his soul.
Genre • Allegorical Poem • Cantos (songs) • Verse Teza Rima • 3 line stanza, which Dante created. • Comedy • Because it ends happily in Heaven.
Literary Devices • Flashback • Allegory • Symbol • Imagery • Mood • Irony • Characterization • Simile/Metaphor • Allusion • Personification