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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."(Boccaccio, Giovanni and Lionardo Broni Arentino, 4). After his death, he obtained many names from great people like Chaucer, who called him "the grete poete of Ytaille" (6), and from artists like Michelangelo saying many things like "It is impossible to say how much we owe to him, be cause his splendor blinds…." (6) The Inferno is not only a story about the wretched torments of hell, but it also has rhyme, and the numbers encoded in rhyme have theological significance (e.g. the number three is symbolic of the holy trinity). Dante Alighieri expresses these numbers in his construction of rhyme, lines, stanzas, and La Comedia to express his love of and the glory of GOD.

Dante was greatly influenced in his choice of numbers by theology, Aristotle, and by the legendary Virgil. Virgil is used theologically by Dante because in the middle ages he was known widely as the "great pre-Christian poet". Virgil used the number 333 because it was the amount of time separating Aenas' time in Italy and the birth of Rome. Virgil also wrote about hell with Aenas, who starts out in a forest, very much like the forest where Dante starts out also (Chateaubriand, Viscount de, 7). To Dante, Aristotle was The Philosopher. Since Aristotle used numbers in symbolism, Dante used this tactic also. Dante also used Aristotle's philosophy of harmony. The harmony theory stated that everything in the universe tends towards its point of perfect existence. Dante, who saw that Virgil had used numbers, decided to also use numbers in La Commedia. To express symbolic numbers, he uses rhyme, stanza construction and the instruction of the epic poem itself (which ties in directly to the construction of La Comedia).
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