Dante and Boccaccio both Florentine by origin were two of the founders of Modern literature. They both lived in a century when many were killed by the plague and they were inspired by their future works. Many of Dante’s characters are legendary or historical figures but many others were people who Dante knew. As a child he met Beatrice who was not only his great love but also the greatest influence in his work. On the other hand in the Decameron, Boccaccio chose seven women and three men in a villa outside the city surrounded by luxury. While Dante was more serious but at the same time more complicated, Boccaccio was more lewd and witty.
Firstly, Dante was both a poet and the central character of his work. In the Commedia he travels on his way back to God meeting characters of history on his way. Exiled, he was lost, similarly at the start of Inferno the character was physically and spiritually lost. The acclaimed poet Virgil guides Dante through Hell where he meets the Leopard, the Lion and the she-wolf which represent respectively Lust, Pride and Avarice, to save his soul. Hell is in the middle of the Earth, made up of nine circles. The deepest and worst circle contains more depraved souls and more intense suffering.
In the second “cantica”, Dante and Virgil climb out of Hell and enter Purgatory where penitent souls are punished to ful...
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... and allusions. The Decameron examines the most complex and fundamental questions which face mankind. In many ways Boccaccio leaves the idealism of Dante’s poetry and brings to literature the same realism that 14th century Italian artists brought to painting. Boccaccio’s work shows man fighting with fortune, learning to accept life as it is and having to accept the consequences of his own actions, however tragic may be. In this way, the Decameron depicts a more human work as oppose to Dante’s Divine Comedy.
To summarise in a few words, I conclude by saying that learning about the past and seeing the art, not only shows us something about who we are, but also informs our own experience of life itself. Furthermore, the Divine Comedy and the Decameron reflect two different approaches to the Italian society both of which have had a huge influence on Italian literature.
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