The expedition of Dante through Hell, in both its structure and content, symbolizes the nature of sin and punishment; the book takes the reader step by step through greater and greater sins and also shows the diverse punishments for sins which are symbolic of the sins themselves.
“A great flame follows a little spark”. Dante Alighieri was born in Florence Italy in May, 1296 (MaGill 390). He was a citizen in Florence, Italy and little is known of Dante’s youth there. He received a rich education in classical and religious subjects and may have studied at Bologna, Padua, and possibly Paris (Lansing Int.) Dante fought in the Florentine army and seems to have enjoyed many friendships throughout this city (MaGill 392). The most important event in his life occurred at a May Day festival when he was nine years old; there he saw Beatrice Portinari who was eight at the time (MaGill 392). They did not see each other again until nine years later, but Dante’s devout fascination with her image and its significance lasted throughout his life (MaGill 392). Beatrice died in 1290 and Dante diverted his grief by plunging into the difficult politics of the city and the study of philosophy (MaGill 392). Sometime before 1294, Dante married Gemma Donati and had at least three children (Lansing int.). His election as one of the city’s six priors in the summer of 1300 exemplifies the public trust he enjoyed, a trust he justified when he validated the banishment of his close friend, the poet Guido Cavalcanti (MaGill 392). Dante spent his last days in Ravenna at the court of Guido da Polenta when in 1321, da Polenta sent him on a diplomatic mission to venue (MaGill 393). On his return Dante fell desperately ill and did not recover; he was buried in Verona wearing a Franciscan dress (MaGill 393).
“A fair request should be followed by the deed in silence.” Dante began The Divine Comedy about 1308; the poem relates to his spiritual development and focuses on the...