Level 3

The Divine Comedy

Dante’s journey begins in a dark forest, symbolizing confusion and spiritual lostness. He encounters a leopard, a lion, and a she-wolf, which block his path and represent different kinds of sins. ​

Fortunately, the Roman poet Virgil appears. From now on, he will be the guide of Dante.​

Virgil says he will help Dante find his way, but their path will take them through Hell and Purgatory. At last, they will reach Paradise. Beatrice, Dante’s love, waits for him in Paradise.​

Dante and Virgil go through the gates of Hell where they see the inscription “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here”. ​

There are nine circles of Hell and each one is reserved for different sin.

First, they enter in Ante-Inferno, where people who were neither bad nor good reside. Then, they get onto the ferry steered by Charon, to pass the river Acheron. Finally, they reach the real border of Hell.

Dante’s journey in Hell starts with Limbo. It is the first circle of Hell – people who did not know Christ reside here. Second circle of Hell is reserved for the sin of Lust. ​

Third circle of Hell is reserved for the sin of Gluttony. The gluttonous are guarded by the three-headed dog, Cerberus. ​

Fourth, fifth and sixth circle of hell are reserved for greed, wrath, and heresy. ​

The seventh circle is for people who were violent in their lives. Some of them were violent towards themselves (suicide), some towards others (murderers), and others, against God (blasphemers). The eighth circle is for the fraudsters. ​

Finally, they arrive to the ninth circle – people who betrayed someone’s trust are there. ​

In the ninth circle of Hell, Dante and Virgil meet Lucifer. He is gigantic, has three heads and he is chewing on history’s biggest sinners: Judas, the betrayer of Christ, Cassius and Brutus, the two betrayers of Julius Caesar. Virgil and Dante climb down the form of Lucifer. Then, they travel back to Earth.

Then, Dante and Virgil climb Mount Purgatory. It is located on an island in the middle of the ocean.

The souls on Mount Purgatory are divided into seven terraces. Each terrace represents a different kind of sin. The souls on each terrace must do penance for their sins before they can move on to the next terrace.

The sins punished in Purgatory are pride, envy, wrath, sloth, avarice, gluttony, and lust, or seven deadly sins. ​

Finally, Dante and Virgil arrive to Paradise. ​

Paradise begins at the top of mount Purgatory, called the Earthly Paradise. ​

Dante meets his love, Beatrice. After their meeting, Virgil considers his mission to be done, and he leaves.

Dante continues his journey with Beatrice, who guides him trough the celestial spheres of heaven. ​

Nine spheres of Heaven are the Moon, Mercury, Venus, the Sun, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, the Fixed Stars, and the Primum Mobile.

From the Primum Mobile, they go to Empyrean, a place beyond physical existence.

In the Empyrean, Beatrice becomes more beautiful than ever. Dante becomes enveloped in light, first blinding him and then rendering him fit to see God. At the end, his soul becomes aligned with God’s love. His journey is complete.

The Divine Comedy is a complex and allegorical work. There are many different interpretations of its meaning. One of the most common interpretations is that the poem is a journey of the soul from sin to salvation. Dante’s journey through Hell and Purgatory represents the process of purification and redemption. His journey through Paradise represents the soul’s ultimate goal, union with God. The Divine Comedy is a poem that can teach us about ourselves and about the world.