The Divine Comedy

Overview

A renowned Italian born in Florentine to a middle-class family is the writer of the world’s best comedy (The Divine Comedy). Dante Alighieri is also an epic poet whose journey in writing poems begun at his tender ages. Extraordinarily, he had a girl he loved so much. It happened that he had seen her only twice in his entire life. His works got inspiration from Beatrice, the girl he cherished a lot. Unfortunately, Dante was hurt as a result of the unexpected demise of his love. As fate would have it, death took her when she was still young and had much life ahead. What a tragedy? The role of the main character is played by him, and the plot dates back to 1299. This is believed to be the time of Dante’s banishment from his town of birth Florence.

Notably, Mr. Alighieri did write the comedy himself between 1308 and 1321. Basically, the summaries of writing that are the Divine Comedy serves to highlight the life of this great man after he passed on.

The work of Dante can be divided into sections. These sections are three generally with the first being;

  •  He's going to hell. The part is also known as the inferno or hell-fire.
  •  The second section talks of the purgatory where God resides while waiting for the incoming visitors.
  •  The third and last part is where all according to the book desires to go. It is the heaven or what he also calls paradise.

The inferno highlights a crisis or the part that Dante struggles with sin. In the cause of his life, Dante is confronted by many challenges including his inability to come back to righteous ways having succumbed to waywardness. Inferno represents a forest where he strayed into. In the middle of the large forest, he spots the sun overhead brightly pushing its rays between the mountains from a distance. He moves closer to the towering mountain to try and climb his way out, but things get complicated as he runs into fierce animals that are ready to devour him. His efforts have been impeded, and adrenaline is gushing in his veins, he is surrounded by a she-wolf, a leopard and a lion. He is less of options other than to retreat back to the thicket.

Inside the forest, he is confronted by more misery in the form of a ghost. The dark forest does not help the situation either because he has to figure out if the figure is either astray man in the forest or a wandering spirit. He is scared and confused by the ghost’s voice that resembles that of someone who has never uttered a speech for so long. As he inquires if the ghost is a man, he gets answered by the figure saying that once he indeed was a man. This is Virgil’s ghost, the writer of Aeneid whose life was during the times when Roman had Gods that were considered to be full of falsehood. “You are the source of my inspiration, I love your works and I am full of admiration for you,” Dante told Virgil. Furthermore, Dante narrated his ordeal in the forest and when he attempted to go over the mountain. In his counsel, Virgil wisely advice for an alternative route to avoid the dangerous wolf that does not permit anyone to walk through the path Dante had taken earlier. He tells him that it is only safe to go through the mountains after the wolf has been driven away by a greyhound.

Dante gets to learn that Virgil is not just in the forest in his own capacity but as a messenger from a girl Dante once loved but died and other two heavenly figures who have tasked Virgil to bring Dante to Paradiso. Accordingly, Virgil explains the journey they have to travel on their way to heaven. In order to get to heaven, their pathway must be hell. He also assures Dante that another guide that is more worthy will be availed to him so that he can complete the rest of his journey safely to heaven.

Review

Clearly, the episodes of the inferno are symbolic of sinful life keeping people away from righteousness. They listen not to the voice of holiness and have opted to live a life that is not godly. This can be sampled to represent few people living in the society whose actions are erratic and not Godly. These individuals could come from all the sectors in our society including the political circles, the church, and the teaching fraternity and even from families. Symbolically, the forest where Dante wanders in is a representation of how we have separated from God.

As indicated by Dante’s attempt to go through the towering mountain, there are no easier routes to heaven. One must strive to justifiably connect to God legitimately because failure to do so will only subject you to more suffering.

The fierce animals represent an obstacle or sin;

  • A leopard is a symbolic animal in the context of this writing and its hide which is spotted could represent how people hide their unholy life as well as their pretense. It further symbolizes our cravings for the earthly things. The animal is well known for its ability to camouflage in dense forests thanks to its spotted skin.
  • A lion in the context of the story symbolically represents pride. People can be so proud of their strength and abilities to the point that they forget God. Most of the time, we want to show the power or the authority that we possess. The lion, in this case, has a scary big head that is full of beautiful mane. It is strong and so violent to the extent that it can proudly confront its adversaries. This is the nature of man vested with authority and power. They fear nothing and think that they can always win on their own. God is secondary in their actions.
  • Gluttons and those whose cravings block from acknowledging God are represented by the She-Wolf. A greedy individual also possess a must own it all attitude. They don’t allow others to thrive or succeed and they will do anything to stop them. Their thirst for everything cannot be quenched by the little that they already have.

Possibly, Dante’s story could be emanating from the perspective of Jeremiah in the bible whose prophesy was that destruction would face the sinners who are adamant to admit their sins and seek repentance. They will be mauled and killed by the lion, they will be eaten up by the wolf and they would be dismembered by a leopard who is keeping watch of those who would try to gain entry into the town.

If hypothetically these fierce animals represent sin, then one would, of course, argue that their interest would be to draw Dante into sinning as opposed to scaring him away. However, Beatrice’s point to Virgil shows that Dante is stuck on his way out via the mountain. She speaks not of the enticement to sin but that Dante’s fear of the beasts is what has made him retreat. We can, therefore, say that it is not necessarily the sin that barricades people from ascending to heaven but fright of sin. Dante does not want to succumb to sin and that is why he fearfully beats a hefty retreat. A growth spiritually is symbolized by Dante’s s desire to climb up the mountain which is halted by fear. To remain ‘safe’ he must opt for the status quo which is not necessarily safe.

Christ whose leadership and dispensation of salvation will give a second chance to humans is represented in the Greyhound. It will pave way for a man to go to heaven. The roles that Virgil plays represent that of a virtuous man whose good actions while still alive remains admirable and inspiring to a human being. He, however, acknowledges that he is no a path to salvation but just a messenger whose task is limited. The final destination will need a new guide.

Sinning has its own consequences that must be established by Dante by himself. This is the only way to get saved.

Conclusion

Sin is the greatest obstacle to ascending to paradise, but it is equally important to know that the fear of sinning can as well be the biggest inhibitor. Even men whose actions impacted the world positively cannot be the savior. Man must find his own salvation. The world’s activities and pleasure can sway us away from God to the extent that we become too much engrossed in them at the expense of finding salvation.

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