Dante's Divine Comedy

The Divine Comedy was written by
Dante Alighieri between the years of 1308 and 1321. 1 The Divine Comedy is an allegory, meaning it symbolizes another story, in allegories you have two stories, the one that is being told and the one that is being understood. The Divine Comedy is divided into three different sections or canticas and each of those canticas has 33 cantos. 2The story takes place the night before Good Friday and lasts until the Wednesday after Easter in 1300. The first part of the allegory is called the Inferno, it is the best known part. Dante is led through the stages by Virgil, the Roman poet.

The Inferno

In the Inferno, Dante goes through several different steps of Hell. He includes arriving at the Gates of Hell, meeting Charon, and then he goes into the 9 different circles of Hell.

Circle 1- Limbo

Circle 1 is reserved for those who are in limbo, not saved from Hell but without sin. This included virtuous non-Christian adults and unbaptized children. 5

Circle 2- Lust

Circle 2 is a circle for "carnal sinners who subordinate reason to desire" (Inf. 5.38-9). 6 Many find it interesting that this is the first sin Dante brings up, but it is also the furthest sin from Satan.

Circle 3- Gluttony

Circle 4- Avarice and Prodigality

Circle 5- Wrath and Sullenness

Circle 6- Heresy

Circle 7- Murder, Suicide, Blasphemy, Sodomy, Usury

Circle 8- Fraud: Pimping and Seducing, Flattery, Simony, Sorcery, Political Corruption, Hypocrisy, Theft, Fraudulent Rhetoric, Divisiveness, Falsification

Circle 9- Treachery (which is further divided)

Purgatorio.jpg DaliPurgatorio.jpg


Purgatory is represented as a mountain in the Southern Hemisphere. Dante and Virgil ascend it, climbing up the ante-purgatory and then 7 different terraces:The Late Repentant, The Proud, The Envious, The Wrathful, The Slothful, The Covetous, The Gluttonous, The Lustful, until they reach the Earthly Paradise. 7




Dante is guided by Beatrice (in the first picture) through Heaven. There are nine different spheres of Heaven, each representing different things. 8