DanteAlighieri • 1265–1321 (56 years) • Nickname: “The Supreme Poet” (ilSommoPoeta) • Born in Florence, Italy
Not much is known about Dante's education, and it is presumed he studied at home or in a chapter school attached to a church or monastery in Florence.
Dante claims to have first met Beatrice Portinaridaughter of FolcoPortinari, at age nine, and claims to have fallen in love "at first sight", apparently without even speaking to her.
Dante, like most people of his day, was involved in local political fighting. He fought in the Battle of Campaldino (June 11, 1289), but eventually his side lost power.
He was condemned to perpetual exile, and if he returned to Florence without paying the fine, he could be burned at the stake.
At some point during his exile, he conceived of the Comedy, but the date cannot be specified.
The Divine Comedy • Widely considered the preeminent work of Italian literature • On the surface, the poem describes Dante's travels through Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven. • But on a deeper level, it represents… the soul's journey towards God
Guess how many lines of poetry: • 14,233 lines! • Divided into 3 books. Guess the structure: • Inferno (Hell) • Purgatorio (Purgatory) • Paradiso (Paradise)
The basic story • Virgil guides him through Hell and Purgatory; Beatrice guides him through Heaven.
Who was Virgil? • The Roman poet who composed “The Aeneid”
Who was Beatrice? • Beatrice was a Florentine woman whom he had met in childhood and admired from afar
Level 1: Unbaptised & Pagans • You find yourself in a place of sorrow but without pain. You encounter a seven-walled castle, and within those walls you find rolling fresh meadows illuminated by the light of reason, whereabout many shades dwell. These are the virtuous pagans, the great philosophers and authors, unbaptised children, and others unfit to enter the kingdom of heaven. You share company with Caesar, Homer, Virgil, Socrates, and Aristotle. There is no punishment here, and the atmosphere is peaceful, yet sad.
Level 2: Lustful (mgaoragon?) • You have come to a place mute of all light, where the wind blows like a typhoon. This is the realm where the lustful spend eternity. Here, sinners are blown around endlessly by the unforgiving winds of desire as punishment for their transgressions. The horrible typhoon that never rests hurtles, spinning them, smiting them, torturing them. Because of lusting for physical pleasure, you are doomed to remain here for eternity. Cleopatra and Helen of Troy are two that share in your fate.
Level 3: Gluttons • You find yourself amidst eternal rain which is cold and heavy. The gluttons are punished here, lying in the filthy mixture of shadows and dirty water. Because you ate food excessively, you meet your fate beneath the cold, dirty rain with the other souls that there lay unhappily in the stinking mud. Cerebus, a canine monster cruel and uncouth with his three heads and red eyes, dwells in this level. He growls and bites at you with his teeth.
Level 4: Greedy • Just before the river Styx is the Fourth Level of Hell. Here, the people unfaithful to their family and the greedy suffer their punishment: they roll weights back and forth against one another. You will share eternal damnation with others who either wasted and lived greedily and insatiably, or who stockpiled their fortunes, hoarding everything and sharing nothing. Plutus, the wolf-like demon of wealth, dwells here.
Level 5: Angry & Sad • The river Styx runs through this level of Hell, and in it are punished the wrathful and the gloomy. The wrathful are forever lashing out at each other in anger, furious and naked, tearing each other with their teeth. The gloomy are gurgling in the black mud, slothful and sullen, withdrawn from the world. Their cries bubble to the surface as they try to sing a sad hymn, but they cannot say it. Because you lived a cruel, vindictive and hateful life, you meet your fate in the Styx.
Level 6: Heretics • You approach Satan's wretched city where you behold a wide plain surrounded by iron walls. Before you are fields full of distress and torment terrible. Burning tombs are littered about the landscape. Inside these flaming tombs suffer the heretics (people who do not believe in God), who sigh for eternity. You will join the wicked that lie here, and will be offered no respite. The three infernal Furies stained with blood, with limbs of women and hair of serpents, dwell in this circle of Hell.
Level 7: Murderers & Suicides • Filled with boiling blood is the Seventh Level of Hell. The violent, the assasins, the tyrants, and the people who love war and killing lament their pitiless mischiefs, while centaurs armed with bows and arrows shoot those who try to escape. The smell here is overpowering. This level is also home to the wood of the suicides. At the time of final judgement, their bodies will hang from tree branches for eternity.
Level 8: Hypocrites & Frauds • When you arrive, you will want to put your hands over your ears because of the cries of the sinners here, who are afflicted with scabs like leprosy, furiously scratching their skin off with their nails. Those guilty of cheating others and of seducing others are whipped by horned demons. Hypocrites have to wear lead-lined coats and are throw into boiling oil by demons. Magicians, witches, fortune tellers, and thieves are here. Some lay in human excrement. Bodies are torn apart.
Level 9: The 3 Traitors • This is the deepest level of hell, where the fallen angel Satan himself resides. His wings flap eternally, producing chilling cold winds that freeze the thick ice. The three faces of Satan, black, red, and yellow, can be seen with mouths gushing bloody foam and eyes forever weeping, as they chew on the three traitors, Judas, Brutus, and Cassius. This place is furthest removed from the source of all light and warmth. Sinners here are frozen deep in the ice, faces out, eyes and mouths frozen shut.
If you designed 9 levels of Hell, what would they be? • By groups, design a structure for 9 levels of hell: