Divine Comedy Analysis

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The Differing Roles of Women in the Divine Comedy
Throughout his Divine Comedy, Dante Alighieri encounters with two women, which are antithetical to one another in terms of their roles in the context of love. These two women, Francesca di Rimini and Beatrice have similar emotional experiences with their lovers, both having relationships outside marriage; yet they have opposite interpretations of what they experience and where their fates led them. The reader meets Francesca in Inferno, while meets Beatrice in Paradiso. In other words, one of them is being punished, whereas the other women is placed at a divine level. Thus, the female characters within the poem represents two distinct roles of women: either as a pure and holy being, or as a
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This partial vs. complete guidance also influences the readers’ perception of these two females: to be more clear, Dante has influence over what the reader feels toward Francesca besides from just her perspective, while Dante has no influence over the reader in terms of their attitudes toward Beatrice. In Inferno 5, Dante grants the agency to Francesca, allowing her to tell her own story. Giving her the freedom to defend herself, the reader can suggest that Dante feels sympathy for her. However, after she is finished telling her story, Dante faints with pity. This suggests that even though Dante feels sympathy toward Francesca, he is simultaneously aware that even his sympathy might be bad. Unlike Francesca, Dante feels “guilty,” which makes him to become so overwhelmed that he faints. This is supported when Dante says “what you suffer here melts me to tears of pity and pain” (). “Tears of pity” and “pain” are words indicating empathy, while “pity” refers to the judgmental and non-appropriate state of her action by Dante. Coherent with Dante’s perception change, pity takes over the feeling of sympathy for the…show more content…
Yet, their passion is not portrayed as sinful, instead depicted as divine. “Divine” in a way that Dante depicts their love as spiritual – beyond oneself, and emphasizes that his power self over the power of love. Dante depicts his passion by saying “the mighty power of old love” (). The word “mighty” is critical here, referring to his passion as something Godly and bigger than Dante himself. Additionally, Dante says “… which moves the sun and all the other stars” (). This statement shows that the soul is only irresistible power belong to god’s Love, that is consistent with the Christine doctrine. In other words, it emphasizes the God’s love greater than self. Moreover, Dante faces many challenges to come together with Beatrice even in the afterlife. The “high decree of God…such nourishment were tasted without any fee” indicates that he believes that in order to deserve his passion he should face many challenges and he can only live his passion in front of the eyes of the God. Therefore, Dante depicts his love for Beatrice in terms of divinity and in relation to his love for the God. Additionally, by putting himself and Beatrice to be only in afterlife, Dante makes clear that he was well aware that he and Beatrice cannot be together when they were alive. This shows that Dante respects the morals, and can control his passion against the power of love. This is an exact opposite of when referring to
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