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Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) PowerPoint Presentation
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Dante Alighieri (1265-1321)

Dante Alighieri (1265-1321)

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Dante Alighieri (1265-1321)

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  1. Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) • Dante born in Florence—more like an independent Greek city-state than a city • Florence entering into its period of greatness at the time of his childhood • A republic—ruled by a large group—rather than a democracy

  2. His life as related to the Comedy • Little known of his life • Though born in modest circumstances, he never had to seek gainful employment • Could devote his life to study and literature • Met Beatrice, love and muse of his life, when he was 9 and she was 8

  3. Vita Nuova • From moment they met, he was overcome by love for her • Had a vision, wrote “To every captive soul and gentle heart” in response to that vision • She was the unattainable; both married another • Beatrice died in 1290; Dante inconsolable, but was finally able to set down the story of his love in Vita Nuova • Describes his spiritual regeneration through his pure love for Beatrice

  4. The (Divine) Comedy • Resolved to write of Beatrice what has never been written about any woman • Carried this out in his Comedy—later became known as the Divine Comedy • Not comedy in the usual sense, but in the sense that it begins in despair and ends in bliss • A long narrative poem written in terza rima—an epic, but more of a spiritual epic, written rather than spoken (true also of the Aeneid)

  5. Structure of The Comedy • Three books or canticles • Each canticle is divided into 33 cantos • Verse schema is terza rima—stanzas of three lines with interlocking rhymes • Multiples of the number three abound within the work

  6. Characters and Themes • Works both as a literal story and an allegory • Dante himself is a character—a sort of Everyman—on quest for redemption-salvation • Begins mid-journey in a sort of mid-life crisis “alone in a dark wood” having lost the straight path

  7. Virgil as Mentor-Guide • Dante meets the shade of Virgil—great Roman poet and author of The Aeneid—who represents Human Reason • Virgil leads Dante through descent into hell (parallel to epic protagonist’s journey into the underworld) • Hell shaped like a cone, lesser sins at the wide top and gravest sins at narrow bottom where Satan lives

  8. Purgatory • After descending to the depths of hell, Dante must climb the mountain of purgatory (Canticle Two) • Here sinners are purging themselves for entrance into paradise or heaven

  9. Paradise • In the third book, Beatrice comes to escort Dante into Paradise, where he is assured of his salvation • Dante experiences a final rapture as he gazes directly at God, the source of all Love