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The Divine Comedy | Dante’s Poem

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By choosing to write this poem called “The Divine Comedy” in Italian rather than Latin, Dante decisively influenced the course of literary development. Not only did he give voice to the nascent secular culture of his country, but he also succeeded in making Italian the literary language of Western Europe for centuries.

Dante’s Divine Comedy, a masterpiece of medieval literature, is a profoundly Christian vision of man’s temporal and eternal destiny. On a personal level, it is based on the poet’s experience of exile far from his native Florence.

The poem stands out for its range of learning, its penetrating and comprehensive analysis of contemporary issues, and its inventiveness of language and imagery.

When did Dante write the Divine Comedy?

In March of the same year, he condemns Dante and his companions to burning at the stake if they attempt to return to Florence. In 1315, after Dante and his sons refuse the terms of an amnesty, a second judge sentences them to death by beheading. The poet survives, wandering from town to town.

Little is known about his life, but it seems that he wrote the ‘Divine Comedy’ during his exile, until 1321, the year of his death.

Exile is one of the central themes of this monumental work of verse, in which the author does himself justice by finding a place in Hell for his enemies, including Boniface VIII.

Was Dante involved in politics?

After the “black Guelfs” regained power in Florence in 1301, with the help of Charles de Valois, brother of the King of France, Philip the Fair, and the support of Pope Boniface VIII, Dante and the other “white Guelfs”, who had left the city, are tried in absentia.

Although a man of letters, Dante was also very involved in the political life of Florence. In 1300, he was elected prior, one of the nine members of the local executive, for a two-month term. It was this prestigious position that hastened his fall from grace.

In January 1302, Cante de Gabrielli found them guilty of corruption. And also the extortion, gave them three days to pay a heavy fine and banned them from holding any public office. 

What is the Divine Comedy?

Structured in three canticles (Inferno, Purgatory, and Paradise). Each contains 33 cantos with an almost equal number of lines. Therefore, the work is remarkable for its impressive symmetry.

The Divine Comedy presents Dante’s journey through Inferno, where, according to the Christian religion, sinners receive their punishment after death. Through Purgatory, the place where, according to the Catholic faith, souls are purified. Purified to enter Paradise, the land of the happy spirits of the virtuous.

Lost in the forest, pursued by three wild beasts (a panther, a lion, and a she-wolf), ready to fall prey to the passions symbolized by these beasts. Dante meets the shadow of the poet Virgil, who rescues him from his wandering. Suggesting that together they cross the realm of the world beyond.

The Divine Comedy

What does Dante describe in the Divine Comedy?

Although written in the typical manner of medieval literature (religious inspiration, moralizing tendency, language based on visual perception of facts). The poem Divina Comedie tends towards a broad and dramatic representation of reality. Far from the spirituality characteristic of Dante’s time. Written in the Tuscan dialect. The work had a considerable influence on the development of the Italian language and literature.

In his work, Dante describes his descent into Hell, his passage through Purgatory, and finally his ascent into Paradise. Ending with the apotheosis of his union with the Divine. “The Divine Comedy is Dante Alighieri’s most famous work and one of the most important masterpieces of universal literature.

The writer began writing the poem as early as 1307, before his years of exile. And continued also to develop it until the last moment of his life.

Was Dante corrupt?

Experts have agreed that Dante was the victim of biased judges, but Alessandro Barbero, Italy’s most renowned medievalist, has recently launched another challenge. Claiming that the condemned poet may have abused his office.

Dante was not corrupt, but it was “not entirely impossible” to imagine that he could have used his powers to favor his political allies, is the hypothesis the scholar has put forward in a biography of the writer.

Alessandro Traversi hopes to shed light on the matter and rehabilitate the Florentine genius.

What does The Divine Comedy summarise?

By writing the poem in the Tuscan dialect rather than Latin, Dante succeeded in transforming Italian into a literary language, thus becoming one of the central figures of European literature.

The Divine Comedy is a synthesis of the artist’s philosophical, scientific and political views, interpreted, allegorically, morally, and mystically. Beyond its profound meanings, it is the dramatization of medieval Christian theology. The “Divina Commedia” is the allegory of the purification of the soul and the acquisition of inner peace through wisdom and love.

Each section contains 33 songs, except the first, which has an extra song serving as an introduction. 

Primary Takeaways

  • In Florence, he heard lectures on philosophy and theology at the Franciscan. And Dominican schools, and in 1285 Dante was in Bologna, where he studied law at the University of Bologna.
  • Convinced that he had been wronged, Dante would reserve a special place for Pope Boniface VIII in one of the ‘Inferno’ circles of the ‘Divine Comedy’.
  • Condemned to exile in 1304 because of his opposition to Pope Boniface VIII, the poet left Florence and never returned. He died on 14 September 1321 in Ravenna.


He spent most of his exile in Verona, 1307-1309 in Paris, and later in Ravenna. Dante’s masterpiece, the ‘Divina Commedia’, is an allegory in verse of great dramatic precision. So, the original title given by the author was “Comedia”. Also, the adjective “divina”, used by Boccaccio in his work “Trattatello in laude di Dante”. It appears for the first time in an edition of 1555.