The Comedy was written during the period of Dante's exile from his native city of Florence; it was begun perhaps as early as 1307 and completed shortly before his death in 1321. The fictional setting of the narrative, however, is 1300, a year and a half before his exile was to begin, during the great Jubilee Year called by Pope Boniface VIII. In the fiction of Dante the exiled poet, the younger Dante is at the height of his political success (having just been elected one of the six priors of Florence), and is widely respected as a talented love poet and as an intellectual of universal interests, who would have had no reason to anticipate his precipitous downfall through partisan politics in the near future. From the perspective of his later life, however, Dante the poet looks back upon what the world would call his period of greatest success and styles it retrospectively a time of moral failure.
Virgil appears in the first canto of Inferno as Dante is forced back into the woods by the wolf. He identifies himself and foretells the journey in store. In Dante's reaction to Virgil's introduction of himself, we can sense the special role the pagan poet played in Dante's life and will play in his salvation. Dante calls himself an apprentice who learned from master Virgil how to ply his craft, and now he asks: "Help me against her [the wolf], famous sage, for she makes my veins and pulses tremble" (I, 89-90).
Virgil was to the Middle Ages, the greatest and wisest poet of classical antiquity, author of the Aeneid (often Christianized by heavy allegory), and of the fourth eclogue whose hyperbolic celebration of an aristocratic birth was seen as prophetic of the birth of Jesus during the pax Augustana. Wi...
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..., faith, integrity, humanity and religion. A ruler must be careful not to say anything outside of these 5 qualities. Machiavellie also talks about Means and Ends. If you succeed it will not matter what your means were b/c you have succeeded. A Machiavellian person is someone who is calculating, manipulating and dishonest. Machiavelli says that a ruler must be able to throw out those 5 qualities, and yet the ruler still needs to seem to be superhuman and invincible. A good leader will know when to be merciful and faithful, but also when not to be. Necessity rather than moral principle should guide a ruler. The ruler should not be opposed to immortality. If you kill to preserve the state, that is moral b/c other wise the state would fall and people would die and that would be immoral. There are times when a leader has to be evil. Morality depends on the circumstances.
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