Dante's Literary Style


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Dante's Literary Style Dante was a genius, having being said at the cost of sounding trite. He was also the master who wrote the masterpiece appropriately called La Comedia which, most clearly of all his works demonstrates his genius profoundly. Dante lived in Florence, Italy in the late 13th and early 14th century. This was at a time when Florence was in political turmoil. Dante, however, was not a commoner. In fact, Dante's party, who were called the Guelfs, took control of Florence during Dante's time in 1266 (Fergusson, Francis, 26). Sadly, however, Dante was banished from Italy at the turn of the century, which was around the time of the writing of La Comedia, which included three books: Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso. When Dante died, however, he was very highly praised for his cantos and their "beautiful, polished, and ornate style.


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The ryme never changes, and is almost of a monotonous cadence and tone (Chateaubriand, Viscount de, 6). Dante does not limit his artistic style of word manipulation to such pettiness as lines and stanzas, but he uses it in the construction of the Inferno itself. In the Inferno, there are 34 cantos which gruesomely describe the horrors of the nine circles of hell: limbo, the carnal and lustful, the gluttons, the hoarders and wasters, the wrathful and slothful, the heretics, the violent, the liars, and the traitors. The nine circles are symbolic of the fact that it is God's justice. The first trinity represents God, whereas the second one represents divine justice. When multiplied together, these two yield the number nine. Purgatorio and Paradiso, however, contain 33 cantos. The reason why Dante uses 34 cantos in the Inferno, and only 33 in Purgatorio and Paradiso is because it adds up to the Divine Number. If one adds 34 to 33, one will arrive at the number 67.


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Chubb, Thomas Caldecot. Dante and His world. Leach MacEdward. Boston: Little Brown, 1966. The Dore's Illustrations for Dante's Divine Comedy. New York: Dover, 1976. Dante's Equation. Seattle: Random House, 2006.


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