Essay on The Role of Beatrice Portinari in Dante The Divine Comedy

Essay on The Role of Beatrice Portinari in Dante The Divine Comedy

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Beatrice Portinari is seen throughout the book of “Dante The Divine Comedy”. She originally meets Dante in the year 1274, on May Day in Florence, Italy. Beatrice is from a wealthy Florentine family and was eight years old the first time they meet and did not speak a word to each other (Cotter, 21). She was the principle inspiration for Dante’s La Vita Nuova, a book about Dante’s love connection to her (Passages to the Past). Dante and Beatrice have only met twice, but Dante was so touched by both meetings he shares his love for Beatrice with the reader. The second encounter occurred when they passed each other on the streets of Florence. She turned and greeted him; this filled him with such joy that he ran to his room and started to dream about her. Beatrice died at the age of twenty-four. This meeting has sparked the first sonnet in La Vita Nouva, which he wrote in 1293 (Rosetti).
Beatrice sees Dante in the book, “Dante the Divine Comedy” when he has to travel through the underworld. She represents divine love, and it is her concern that drives Dante to seek out Virgil to be his guide. Since Virgil lived before Christianity, he dwells in limbo with other non-Christians (NovelGuide.com). By trusting Beatrice, Dante trusts Virgil, who gets him through hell. Virgil is used as Dante’s knowledgeable guide through the underworld and into heaven (NovelGuide.com). It was told to Dante in Canto II when he was losing his way that Beatrice descended down from heaven into limbo to find Virgil to explain to him her concern for Dante. Beatrice is there to spiritually guide Dante up to heaven (NovelGuide.com). Virgil explains to Dante that the lady that came down to have Virgil lead him had “eyes [that] shone more brightly than the sta...


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"Divine Comedy: Character Profiles." Novelguide. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 May 2014.
La Vita Nuova." The New Life I-X. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 May 2014.
"Inferno Canto I: 1-60 The Dark Wood and the Hill." Dante: The Divine Comedy. Trans. A.S. Kline. PoetryInTranslation.com, 2000. Web. 05 May 2014.
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