Friday, August 19, 2016

The Divine Comedy

Mild Spoilers Ahead

The Divine Comedy is an epic poem written by the Italian poet Dante Alighieri.  It is a story about a middle aged man who encounters Virgil in front of a cave and is launched into an epic journey in which he has to journey through the circles of Hell, Purgatory, and finally reach Paradise.

The story is split up into three sections, starting with Hell.  Dante travels through the different levels:

  • Limbo (non-practicing Christians and unbaptized pagans; notables include Aristotle, Cicero, Hippocrates, Julius Caesar)
  • Lust (punished by being blown roughly by the wind; notables include Cleopatra, Tristan, Helen of Troy, etc.)
  • Gluttony (punished by being forced to lie in sludge)
  • Greed (punished by having weights and boulders on their shoulders)
  • Anger (the angry fight each other eternally here)
  • Heresy (punished in flaming tombs forever)
  • Violence (some are turned into trees which are eaten by harpies; others are chased and torn by dogs)
  • Fraud (panderers, seducers, flatterers, simony, sorcerers, false prophets, corrupt politicians, hypocrites, thieves, evil counselors, advisers, divisive individuals, false-tellers, alchemists, perjurers, counterfeits
  • Treachery (Satan chews three betrayers in his mouths--he has three--Brutus, Cassius, and Judas)
Then he goes to Purgatory where he sees how each of the sins are cleansed from people.  He finally reaches Paradise where he is reunited with his friend Beatrice.  

I don't want to spoil too much of this story because I think it is an absolute must read for everyone, period.

One of my favorite quotes:
"How many, up there, think themselves great kings
Who here will wallow in mire like pigs.
Leaving behind nothing but infinite horrors."

Have you read The Divine Comedy?  Which part did you like best?

Are you going to read The Divine Comedy?  What made you want to?


  1. I read these for the first time not too long ago. Love em, but I will say I had to go back and forth a few times to figure out what was going on. Is it bad that I kind of like Inferno best?

    1. I too had to go back several times. Inferno is my favorite too--actually from what I've heard, I think Inferno is both the most popular and most liked part across the board.