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The Divine Comedy vs. Paradise Lost

Powerful Essays
Full Circle – from Sin to Salvation

Great works of literature have been written throughout history. However, The Divine Comedy and Paradise Lost have the inept ability to stir the soul and cause a person to examine and re-examine their life. The brilliant descriptions, use of imagery, metaphor and simile give a person a vivid picture of the creation of man and the possibilities for life in the hereafter. This is done, as a person is able to see, full circle, from the beginning of time to the end of time, the consequences of turning away from God. The ability to see a life full circle is apparent through the examination of both of these poems. Although written many years ago, the morals and principles that they convey ring very true for people in this century as well as times yet to come.
The Divine Comedy, written in the 14th century by Dante Alighieri, is a heroic epic. Throughout Dante’s literary work, he outlines his scientific understandings of the world, his political views and provides the reader with a moral compass and spiritual map of which to follow. This poem is written in three parts, Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradisio, each of which is broken down into individual cantos. Inferno includes 34 cantos, whereas Purgatrio and Paradiso each contain 33 cantos, however, the first canto of Inferno is really an introduction to the poem.
The primary characters in Dante’s poem include himself, who is also the narrator, Virgil, a poet he has admired, who serves as his guide through most of the first two sections, and finally, Beatrice, his inspiration, who greets him at Paradisio and escorts him through the remainder of his journey.
Dante experiences a vision, at the age of 35, after experiencing traumatic events in his hometown of Florence. The events that are occurring in Florence at the time are associated with papal corruption and cause Dante to be forced into exile. Following the vision, which confirms to Dante that he has strayed from the right path in life, Dante begins his travel through the three realms, which contain the possible consequences following a person’s death. Dante’s journey begins on Good Friday, when he is escorted to the gates of Hell, moves to Purgatory and ends in Heaven. However, an escort accompanies him for duration of his journey. Virgil, who Dante has long admired, escorts Dante through Hell and...

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...or not to obey the Father in the partaking of the fruit. Faith becomes a common theme through questions that are answered within the poems. Raphael answers Adam and reveals the meaning and importance of faith. The same thing occurs in Dante’s poem when St. Peter gives him information.
In Milton’s poem we see and feel that the character of Eve is somehow not as important as the character of Adam. This is evident in the way Adam is consulted while Eve is left to herself in times of important conversations. In Book eight, Adam says that Eve is “th’ inferior, in the mind and inward faculties.” (Paradise Lost, book 8, line 317-318) Eve is a submissive character in Paradise Lost. On the other hand, Beatrice, in Dante’s The Divine Comedy, is a strong character and leads Dante. The use of numbers is very important in Dante’s poem as the number three reveals itself several times as well as the number seven. This is not a characteristic found in Paradise Lost.
Both poems inspire their reader to look at their own life. In addition, they treat the reader to a full serving of historic literature that not only entertains, but also teaches valuable lesson in the form of morals and principles.
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