This review is on The Divine Comedy, written by Dante Alighieri in 1306 - 21. The time period is in the 1300’s. Dante often used his knowledge of the present to predict future events. The book is divided into 3 sections: Inferno (hell), Purgatorio (purgatory), and Paradiso (heaven). Each one of these sections is divided into 33 cantos (except Inferno, which has 34 cantos), which are written in tercets (groups of 3 lines). The number 3 in Dante's time was significant because it was considered holy.
Dante’s dead love Beatrice asks the Virgin Mary to help him see the error of his ways. Mary accepts and Dante is sent to hell for 3 days. Next he goes up Mount Purgatory on the other side of the world, then to Heaven in the sky. Dante is lost at the beginning of the story, so he needs guides to help him along. His first guide, through Hell and Purgatory, is Virgil. They encounter many sinners on the way. Dante learns to hate sin. His second guide is Beatrice, the woman he adored while she lived. His final guide is Saint Bernard, who takes him to see God.
As the pilgrims entered Purgatory, an angel inscribed the letter "P" on Dante's forehead seven times, to represent the seven deadly sins (pride, envy, anger, sloth, avarice, gluttony, and lust). As Dante made his way through the seven areas reserved for those who committed each of these sins, the letters were erased one by one, and the climb became less difficult.
Most obviously difficult for the illustrator is the fact that only Dante, with the exception of the Virgin Mary and Christ, in the poem has a physical body. Dante has a wrist to be taken by, but Virgil, Dante’s “host” through hell, has no physical form to take him by his hand.
Most poetry of Dante's age was written in praise of a woman whom the poet had chosen as an inspiration. Dante had met Beatrice Portinari at least twice, but had no intention of developing a relationship with her. She was married, and so was he. In The Divine Comedy, Dante places his lady, Beatrice in the highest realms of Paradise.
Almost as much as he loved Beatrice, Dante loved Italy; and one of his greatest...