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Tyler Hilbert Honors English 10 INdependent Reading Project 4 25 March, 2012 The Literary Merit of The Divine Comedy

The epic poem, The Divine Comedy, by Dante Alighieri, is one, not only worthy of literary merit, but also of the historical importance and cultural differences that the story provides. The entire Comedy as a whole is made of three stories and they are Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso. The story of Inferno, is one that tells the path of Dante and Virgil through the land of Satan himself. The main reason the Inferno contributes to the literary merit is the way it presents the punishment of Hells residents in a twisted, yet ironic way. The best example of this is the punishment of the Diviners and the Fortune Tellers. The irony in this punishment is that they have always looked towards the furute, but now must look behind them until their judgement arrives. The second reason that Inferno provides toward the literary merit is how Dante provokes the readers emotions. The time that this skill of ALighieris shines is the last circle, when you will cry for the cannibal Ugolino, hate the ones under the ice of Hell, fear the though of staring at the face of the lord of Hell himself, and finally cheer as Dante escapes Hell and emerges onto a new plane of fear. The new plane that I am talking about is the tower of Purgatory in which the story of Purgatorio takes place. The story of Purgatorio is one that confronts the reader into realization and revelation as opposed to the more violent Inferno or more slow paced Paradiso. The realization it provokes arrives as soon as Dante meets the people doomed of gthose guilty of pride. Dante himself admits that he is guilty of the sin himself, making the reader grow closer to the hero, as they have probably just realized the man is as human as they are. The part that really adds to the Comedys merit is how it will strike some panic into the readers hearts. The

moments in which the reader witnesses the punishments and the reasons that some of these people are on these ledges, they should realize they themselves are guilty of these horrendous crimes and should turn their lives around. The next story however is the goal or tophy that the ones who were loyal to their beliefs will receive and provides an ending that is quite realistic and human in nature. The last story is known as Paradiso, but does not really add much to the lready great literary merit of the past two stories but the ending is one part that connects it all into one glorious finish. The ending is when Dante reaches the last place in his journey, theEmpyrean, and receives a vision from God himself, but, while giving him peace of mind and happiness, presents more question for the reader to ask and contemplate. How does humanity fit in Christs world or vision? Will humanity ever truly be one with God or will we always become consumed by sin? Dante himself does not know the answers, stating that was not a flight for my wings. So the last question is, does all this truly contribute to literary merit? The answer is yes, it does. The entire group of three stories all present an allegorical meaning that states all mankind is worthy of their redemption, and should be forgiven, not holed up and kept there for all eternity. Datne himself hints that he believes in this due to his attitude to all of the dwellers of Hell and Purgatory. The other underlying meaning is that, no matter how hard mankind tries, we will never be truly purged of all sin. We are all guilty of it in some unique way. Overall the epic poem The Divine Comedy deserves some notice due to its merit and harsh truths that will make anyone second guess himself and their actions for the rest of their life.