In our "Character Analysis" of Dante, we’ve discussed how it’s important to distinguish between author-Dante and character-Dante. Here’s why: Our narrator is primarily character-Dante because he’s the one documenting his feelings as he experiences Hell.
But his observations are often informed by the historic knowledge of author-Dante, who has already lived these events. Example: when talking to Brunetto Latini, Dante lets slip that he wants to show his work to Beatrice. Which won’t happen until Purgatorio. Cliffhanger!