Study Guide

Dante Alighieri Divine Comedy

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Divine Comedy

The Divine Comedy is a three-part journey in which Dante, as himself, travels through Hell, then Purgatory (in Catholic theology, the place that is kind of like God's waiting room for souls not yet ready for Paradise), then Heaven. It is set in 1300, around the time of Dante's exile, even though Dante was actually writing it around 1308 or 1309. As Dante explained later, nearly every line in the Comedy could be interpreted in multiple ways - be it theological, philosophical or autobiographical. The work "was undertaken, not for speculation but for a practical end," Dante wrote, "to remove those who are living in this life from the state of misery, and lead them to the state of felicity."

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