Introduction 1. The journey taken by Dante is symbolic in the fact that it is a spiritual quest for salvation. 2. A canto is a chapter. 3. The Divine Comedy contains 100 cantos because 100 is the square of ten which in reference to the Middle Ages was the perfect number. 4. Tercets are three-line stanzas in the rhyme scheme called terza rima. In terza rima the middle line of the first tercet rhymed with the first and last of the second. 5. The number three is important in the Divine Comedy because of its connection with Holy Trinity; Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit being one in God. t also relates to the book being split into three equal parts, the Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paridiso all containing thirty-three cantos and taking place over three days on a holy weekend. The Inferno starts on Good Friday, the day of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion and ending in heaven symbolically on Easter Sunday. Dante is also guided by three holy women, Virgin Mary, Saint Lucia, and Beatrice. 6. Beatrice is Dante’s spiritual guide to Paradiso as well as his symbol of love and faith. 7.
Virgil’s role in the Inferno is to lead Dante through the nine circles of Hell, past Lucifer and to Purgatorio. Dante selects Virgil as his guide because he hold Virgil in high reverence and sees him as the symbol of human reason’s achievement without faith. Canto I 8. Midway through life Dante has strayed away from the True Way. 9. Dante encounters the Leopard of fraud and malice, the Lion of violence and ambition and the She-Wolf of incontinence or immoderation. 10. Virgil appears to Dante at line 63. 1. Virgil is an appropriate symbol of human reason because in his lifetime he showed the capabilities of man without faith throughout his epic the Aeneid. 12. Virgil advises Dante to follow him because he will be able to lead him through the screaming suffering and damnation of souls and through the indecision of Purgatorio. 13. A “worthier spirit” must lead Dante into Heaven or Paradiso because God forbids Virgil from entering Heaven being that while alive Virgil rebelled against God’s law.
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