How Literature Changed a Nation: Dante Alighieri and The Divine Comedy

analytical Essay
1142 words
1142 words

Making change in a time of dark beliefs and harsh criticism is a difficult task to achieve. The poet, Dante Alighieri’s world was one filled with spirituality and stigmas. Unlike many other artists of his time, he completed his most famous and influential work in Europe’s 1300’s. Dante’s piece, The Divine Comedy, demonstrates the journey one takes throughout life, to find one’s self and connect with the world and religion, all through three volumes of poetry. Of his talent, came a business of the arts. In addition, he changed the way the Italian language was perceived. He used his writing to help women be viewed as equals to men, and took a more tolerant position with regard to religion. Due to its effects on language, religion, and societal protocol, The Divine Comedy unquestionably affected Italian culture in the time of its author, and beyond.

Language amongst a nation may seem definite, but in the 14th century, Italy was simply a geographical region in need of leadership and unity. Bardertscher discussed the way Dante helped to unite the country in a single language. “Written in the Tuscan dialect rather than in Latin, "The Divine Comedy" helped strengthen the use of the vernacular as a literary language. It also led to the dominance of Tuscan, which became the basis of modern Italian” (Bardertscher, 2005, p. 1). By writing his work in Tuscan Italian, Dante made two great strides for Italy. First, he established Italian as a language which was versatile and as useful as Latin. In addition, Dante’s use of a particular dialect led to the Italian government adopting this dialect as the standard language. Even today, Dante’s Tuscan dialect is the version of Italian which American students learn and the majority of Italians spea...

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Burge, J. (2011). Dante: Reason and religion. Retrieved December 14, 2011, from

Chou, P. (1999). Romance: Dante & Beatrice. Retrieved December 9, 2011, from

Hutchinson’s Biography Database. (2011). Dante Alighieri. Retrieved December 9, 2011, from

Knight, K. (2009). Thomism. Retrieved December 9, 2011, from

Rubin, H. (2004). Dante in love. New York: Simon & Schuster.

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how dante alighieri's work, the divine comedy, demonstrates the journey one takes throughout life, to find one’s self and connect with the world and religion, through three volumes of poetry.
  • Analyzes how dante helped to unite italy in a single language by writing in the tuscan dialect rather than in latin.
  • Explains that dante's love for beatrice portinari led him to be led to god. this religious affiliation later became the subject of his renowned poem.
  • Analyzes how dante didn't agree with the teachings of the church. he had an interesting view on homosexuality, which gained him critique amongst his peers.
  • Analyzes how dante's work showed his realistic outlook on life and society. he accepted situations as they were, which coincided with thomism beliefs.
  • Analyzes how dante's modern beliefs were in the power of women. the female lead of the divine comedy is a true hero and completes the story.
  • Analyzes how dante's poem showed his love for love, but also discussed many intellectual principals. the poem was readable for all, thus making the book profitable.
  • Explains that many of society's greats in these fields and others admit dante and his divine comedy were their inspiration.
  • Analyzes how dante alighieri's divine comedy created dynamics in a settled and strictly ruled nation, affecting communication, belief systems, and mannerisms of the italian people.
  • Cites bardertscher, e. (2005) and burge, j. (2011). dante: reason and religion.
  • Cites chou, p., hutchinson’s biography database, dante alighieri, and knight, k.
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