How many people spend their whole life in love with a person they met only once
when they were nine years old? Dante Alighieri, born in 1265, had only one
meeting with Beatrice Portinari in 1274, making him only nine years old. By
Dante's own account this was the most important event of his youth (Alighieri).
When she passed away in 1290 Dante was about 25 and overcome with grief (Barbi
6). If Dante hadn't met Beatrice much of his work would have never been written.
When he met the Florentine gentlewoman, she made a deep impression on his
feelings. In the Inferno Beatrice symbolizes blessedness or salvation, and Dante
always called her by her full name to indicate that she brought happiness to
whoever looked upon her. All evidence shows she was the daughter of Folco
Portinari, and later, the wife of Simone die Bardi. Dante expressed his love for
her in his poetry and believed she was "the guide of his thoughts and emotions
toward that ideal perfection which is the goal of every noble mind" (Barbi 6).
Other poets of the time wrote about the cruelty of women and demanded pity.
Dante exalted or glorified Beatrice as a miracle of courtesy and virtue sent to
earth by God for the welfare of himself, and for those who would appreciate her
qualities. Because of such exultation Dante believed that Beatrice would not
stay long in the earthly life, and in June 1290 she died. This caused intense
contemplation of her in the glory of heaven (Barbi 6). Dante was married shortly
after the first anniversary of Beatrice's death. However, her memory came back
and he felt horrible f...
... middle of paper ...
Dante Alighieri met the love of his life when he was only nine years old, but
never stopped loving her. She passed away when he was about 25 and Dante was
never the same. After 16 years his love for her never faded, even though both
had married. Even right before his death Dante still wrote about Beatrice and
held her in the highest regard. Beatrice inspired his work and gave it meaning.
Alighieri, Dante. "The Inferno." The Norton Anthology World Masterpieces
Expanded Edition vol. 1. Ed. Maynard Mack. W.W. Norton & Co. Inc. 1995. 1693-1828.
Alighieri, Dante. Microsoft Encarta 98 Encyclopedia. CD-ROM. Microsoft
Barbi, Michele. Life of Dante. London: Cambridge University. 1954.
"Knights, Ladies and Constant Heartache." Discovery Online. 3/14/04.www.discovery.com.
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