Essay on Beatrice in Dante's Divine Comedy

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Beatrice in Dante's Divine Comedy

How many people spend their whole life in love with a person they met only once

when they were nine years old? Dante Alighieri, born in 1265, had only one

meeting with Beatrice Portinari in 1274, making him only nine years old. By

Dante's own account this was the most important event of his youth (Alighieri).

When she passed away in 1290 Dante was about 25 and overcome with grief (Barbi

6). If Dante hadn't met Beatrice much of his work would have never been written.

When he met the Florentine gentlewoman, she made a deep impression on his

feelings. In the Inferno Beatrice symbolizes blessedness or salvation, and Dante

always called her by her full
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In the Inferno Beatrice is mentioned as Dante's heavenly guide. Descending into

hell, Beatrice informs Virgil that he must lead Dante from error, because he

cannot find Divine Love alone; Reason has to show him. Virgil explains that

Dante cannot be scared because heavenly powers such as, the Virgin Mary, Saint

Lucia, and Rachel have sent prayers and are concerned for him (Mack). Dante

describes Beatrice as, "a Lady so blessed and so beautiful," with eyes that are

"kindled from the lamps of Heaven." And her voice "reached through me, tender,

sweet, and low. An angel's voice, a music of its own" (Mack). Dante again shows

his adoration for her by placing her in heaven.

Paradiso is basically the Beatrice canticle. It was a common idea of the Middle

Ages that a blessed creature should watch over an individual man who lived a

dangerous life. Throughout the journey through the celestial spheres Dante must

depend on her shining eyes to guide him. Paradiso is powerful and seems to come

from Dante's heart. It is not weak or played out (Barbi 82). The Divine Comedy

was finished shortly before Dante's death in 1321. At this time Dante was about

55 years old and

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