Time Spent With the Harvard Classics – The Divine Comedy – Dante

Aloha Promises Forever has previously discussed both Dante and his major work The Divine Comedy.  Please refer back to these previous postings to gain a greater understanding of this work.  On this post, we will discuss thematic concerns.

Thematically, it is best to think of The Divine Comedy as allegory.  Each canto and that which is described within each may be thought of in various alternative meanings. While true, it is important to know that the work can be known through other levels as well.   These are from the historical, moral, literal and anagogical perspectives.

The structure of the poem itself is complex with mathematical and numerological patterns throughout the work.  The threes and nine are related to the Holy Trinity.  Dante’s use of real personages offered great convenience as vehicles for a number of important subjects.

Dante himself called his poem a Comedy due to it’s classification.  High poetry was the work of tragedy.  Low poetry included comedy.  Low poems most often had happy endings and were at this time restricted from more serious matters.  This poem deals with the serious subject of the redemption of mankind.  It was written in the low and ‘vulgar’ Italian language, not Latin.

You may read Canto III of The Divine Comedy here:


Alternatively, you may listen to this work in an audiobook format here:




About alohapromisesforever

Writer, poet, musician, surfer, father of two princesses.
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