The Church Militant: Depictions in Dante

In no other part of The Divine Comedy does Dante present his vision of the Church Militant, or the body of living believers who must struggle against sin and reach for virtue, than in Purgatorio. Striking parallels exist between the experiences of the shades in Purgatory and the experiences of humans on earth. On earth … Read moreThe Church Militant: Depictions in Dante

The Role of Guidance in The Aeneid, Confessions, and The Divine Comedy

Galileo Galilei once stated that “all truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.” However, in order to understand and discover such truths, one needs the light of wisdom and the guidance of virtue. In Virgil’s Aeneid, Saint Augustine’s Confessions, and Dante’s Divine Comedy, all three protagonists are … Read moreThe Role of Guidance in The Aeneid, Confessions, and The Divine Comedy

Dante: Love and Goodness as Guidance to Self-improvement

“Love is the seed in you of every virtue and of all acts deserving punishment.” ——Purg. XVII, 104-5 Dante calls his great work a comedy, not for its humor but because it meets the traditional definition of a comedy: a story with a rising plot from sad to happy. In this sense, Dante’s beginning in … Read moreDante: Love and Goodness as Guidance to Self-improvement

Distraction and the Afterlife in Dante’s Divine Comedy

“Blessed are those in whom grace shines so copiously that love of food does not arouse excessive appetite, but lets them hunger after righteousness” (2.23.150-154). On the sixth terrace of Purgatory, a tree speaks these words, communicating a broader theme of The Divine Comedy, that our attention should be consumed by a desire for God … Read moreDistraction and the Afterlife in Dante’s Divine Comedy

Dante’s Influences on T.S. Eliot

T.S. Eliot is considered one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century and his poetry was greatly influenced by Dante Alighieri. Eliot’s introduction to Dante was in his college years at Harvard, where he studied philosophy. Eliot read Dante’s works extensively in college and may have meant to “apprentice” himself to learn everything he … Read moreDante’s Influences on T.S. Eliot

Dante and the Cult of Mary

Next to Beatrice, Mary is probably the most important female character in Dante’s Comedy. Mary’s symbolism in relation to the souls of purgatory appears relatively simple at first: her examples of virtue both reprove the penitent sinners for their sins and encourage them in their purgation. However, Mary’s exact nature is more complex because she … Read moreDante and the Cult of Mary

Commedia and Dualism

A number of overlying themes have persisted throughout the three canticles of Dante’s Commedia. The politically charged and spiritually passionate Florentine elegantly laced into his masterpiece general topics – affairs of state, religion, and human nature – and expressed them thematically from the deepest trenches of the Inferno to the loftiest celestial bodies of Paradiso. … Read moreCommedia and Dualism

A Disunited Society: The Disturbing Depiction of Muhammad in the Divine Comedy

In 1312, Dante Alighieri wrote a treatise called De Monarchia, in which he expressed his belief that society would operate best under a single authority – that is, a secular monarch. Dante, in his characteristic rabble-rousing way, argued that peace should be mankind’s primary goal, and the only way to attain such a lofty goal … Read moreA Disunited Society: The Disturbing Depiction of Muhammad in the Divine Comedy