Dante Alighieri

Author of Comedia

Biography by Matt Lajoie

Dante Alighieri was born in Florence, Italy, and was possibly where he spent most of his life. While not much is known of Dante's education, it's possible he was home-schooled and that he taught himself, stated in La Vita Nuova. After falling in love with a girl named Beatrice at first sight at age nine, he devoted many poems, such as La Vita Nuova or his most famous work, The Comedia, or Divine Comedy.

Biography Continued...

In a similar vein as Petrarch, Dante focused many of his works on his crush, Beatrice, who most of his works were about. As mentioned earlier Dante's most famous work is his three-part mega poem the Comedia, renamed as the Divine Comedy by Boccaccio, another famous author. He studied with Brunetto Latini, and a portrait of Dante done by Giotto hangs in the Palazzo de Podesta.

An excerpt from The Inferno

" Midway upon the journey of our life

I found myself with in a forest dark,

For the straightforward path had been lost "

The Three Parts of The Inferno


This is the first part of the Divine Comedy. It chronicles Dante's trek through the nine circles of Hell on his spiritual journey to Heaven guided by Vergil, who represents human reason. The Inferno is the most politicly based of the three parts, with lots of Dante's enemies or rivals"in hell". The whole poem was written in 1308-1321,after Dante's exile from Florence. The whole story was published in1555 by Gabriel Giolito De Ferrari. I have seen book copies of this work in Barnes and Noble stores in Merrimack before, which means you can buy it like any other work. This book/poem is unlike any other as it shows an entire experience of what Hell might be like. No one had ever read or seen something so profound and mind-blowing before. I think it would be interesting to experience something like this in real life and see how it compares to Dante's original story. This part specifically seems to demonstrate a lot of humanism through it's interpretation of what happens to bad people when they die. It's a good incentive to be the best, most humane, most perfect person you can be.


In Part two, the Purgatorio no longer sees Dante guided by Virgil ( as human reason can only help you so much ) and led by none other than the spirit of Beatrice herself, and she remains his helper for the rest of the story. After escaping from Hell, Dante winds up on Mount Purgatory, where the souls of mostly good and faith-full people go through purification and punishment based on the Deadly Sin they committed most so they can go to Heaven. Like the Inferno The Purgatorio seems to mostly be about Humanism and the importance of Human morality.


Paradiso is the third and final part of The Divine Comedy. After leaving Mount Purgatory Dante and Beatrice finally arrive in Heaven, explore it for a while, and finally meet God at the end, whose very presence makes Dante completely unable to describe him. After this, The Divine Comedy is finally over. While the first two parts of the poem were about Humanism and overcoming sin, this third and final part seems to mostly just be the reward of the Hero's Journey and the pondering of God. This part's ism would probably Secularism because of Dante's argument of Human Reason being insufficient beyond Earth and the physical universe.

Works Cited

di Michelino, Domenico. Dante Reading from the Divine Comedy. 1465. Art Stor Database. Web. 18 November 2014.

"Dante Alighieri." Encyclopedia of World Biography. Detroit: Gale, 1998. Biography in Context. Web. 18 Nov. 2014.

"Archive of Classic Poems." Dante's Divine Comedy; Poetry of Dante Alighieri; Full Text of Dante's Divine Comedy. Web. 18 Nov. 2014. .