It seems like forever since I’ve started reading this book, but now I’m finally done 🙂 But before I start to talk about it, even though a little late, I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and I hope you all had a pleasant holiday 🙂 I may be a bit old fashioned, but I can’t imagine a better Christmas, than the one spent with your family and the people you love the most, so I was really happy to have achieved this. It is still not the most perfect version I can dream of, but we’re getting there 😉
So, enough holiday-talk, back to the book. 😛
To tell you the truth, I was a bit worried when I started reading it, because I was afraid the language will be a bit too hard to understand, but thankfully this was not the case. Of course, being an epic poem, it did have parts where I really had to focus to get the whole picture, but it wasn’t as bad as I feared.
I was really fascinated by the images Dante painted to illustrate the three parts, the Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso. It was interesting to see how the people of that time saw the afterlife, for instance that the mountain of the Purgatory is located on the southern hemisphere on an island. The other thing I liked was Dante’s sense of justice, because everyone presented during his journey got what they deserved, sometimes in a quite ironic way. For instance, those who claimed to see the future had to walk with their heads twisted backwards in one of the circles of Hell.
Another thing I found interesting was the structure of the three parts and the way they all were formed of sub-circles, each having some kind of characteristic. (For example, the Purgatory was divided into seven sub-circles, each representing one of the seven deadly sins.)
The last thing I want to mention is the fact that the poem is filled with mythological, biblical and historic references, which make it a bit hard to follow (at least it was for me), because you have to keep looking at the footnotes to understand who or what Dante is talking about. Apart from that, it was actually very interesting to see all those little stories sawed into the whole.
The ending of the poem seemed a bit abrupt at first, but as I thought about it, I realized that it was perfect, because Dante had finally reached his destination and that was all that was worth telling. In the end, he had found God and understood all he wanted to know.
The poem also has a political value, because it presents Dante’s views and criticism on empire and church, and about the political situations of that time in Italy.
All in all, I would say that this was a fascinating book, something definitely worth reading, but only if you have the time and patience, because it can be quite challenging sometimes 🙂
If you want to read it online, you can find it here: (if you don’t mind that it doesn’t have footnotes) Divine Comedy.
That’s all for now, next time I’ll be presenting William Golding’s “Lord of the Flies”. Until then, I wish everyone a Merry Christmas (at least what’s left of it 😛 ) and a Happy New Year!