You are on page 1of 2

The Divine Comedy (Italian: Divina Commedia [diˈviːna komˈmɛːdja]) is an epic poem by Dante

Alighieri, begun c. 1308 and completed 1320, a year before his death in 1321. It is widely considered
the preeminent work of Italian literature[1] and is seen as one of the greatest works of world
literature.[2] The poem's imaginative vision of the afterlife is representative of the medieval world-
view as it had developed in the Western Church by the 14th century. It helped establish the Tuscan
language, in which it is written, as the standardized Italian language.[3] It is divided into three
parts: Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso.

On the surface, the poem describes Dante's travels through Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise
or Heaven;[4] but at a deeper level, it represents, allegorically, the soul's journey towards God.[5] At
this deeper level, Dante draws on medieval Christian theology and philosophy, especially Thomistic
philosophy and the Summa Theologica of Thomas Aquinas.[6] Consequently, the Divine Comedy has
been called "the Summa in verse".[7]

The work was originally simply titled Comedìa and the word Divina was added by Giovanni
Boccaccio. The first printed edition to add the word divina to the title was that of the
Venetian humanist Lodovico Dolce,[8] published in 1555 by Gabriele Giolito de' Ferrari.

Durante degli Alighieri (Italian: [duˈrante deʎʎ

aliˈɡjɛːri]), simply called Dante (Italian: [ˈdante], UK /ˈdænti/, US /ˈdɑːnteɪ/; c. 1265 – 1321), was a
major Italian poet of theLate Middle Ages. His Divine Comedy, originally called Comedìa (modern
Italian: Commedia) and later christened Divina by Boccaccio, is widely considered the greatest
literary work composed in the Italian language and a masterpiece of world literature.[1]

In the late Middle Ages, the overwhelming majority of poetry was written in Latin, and therefore
accessible only to affluent and educated audiences. In De vulgari eloquentia (On Eloquence in the
Vernacular), however, Dante defended use of the vernacular in literature. He himself would even
write in the Tuscan dialect for works such as The New Life (1295) and the aforementioned Divine
Comedy; this choice, although highly unorthodox, set a hugely important precedent that later Italian
writers such as Petrarch and Boccaccio would follow. As a result, Dante played an instrumental role
in establishing the national language of Italy. Dante's significance also extends past his home
country; his depictions of Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven have provided inspiration for a large body
of Western art, and are cited as an influence on the works of John Milton, Geoffrey
Chaucer and Lord Alfred Tennyson, among many others. In addition, the first use of the interlocking
three-line rhyme scheme, or theterza rima, is attributed to him.

Dante has been called "the Father of the Italian language" and one of the greatest poets of world
literature.[2] In Italy, Dante is often referred to as il Sommo Poeta ("the Supreme Poet") and il Poeta;
he, Petrarch, and Boccaccio are also called "the three fountains" or "the three crowns".