Belonging to the immortal company of the great works of literature, Dante’ Alighieri’s poetic masterpiece, The divine Comedy, is a moving human drama, an unforgettable visionary journey through the infinite torment of Hell, up the arduous slopes of Purgatory, and on to the glorious realm of Paradise-the sphere of universal harmony and eternal salvation.(blurb from back)
The picture above happens to my translation of the Divine Comedy. The one I wish to inform you is by far the most gruesome of the three. The Inferno. If you are going to get a translation, get this one. I’m serious.
The Inferno is an interesting tale taking you through the different rings of Hell. You get a chance to see a glimpse of how your sins are affecting your soul. There are several things context wise (of the era) you need to know before diving in. Dante would have known a lot of the people he describes in the different rings, personally. And his readers would have known them as well, as a lot of them were major political figures of the day. He mentions Beatrice, who sends his guide, Virgil to him. And that brings me to meet the characters.
Dante Alighieri: A poet, political figure, and character in his tail. Guided by Virgil through the rings of Hell, he gets a glimpse of the sins he is convicted of. He also gets aid from his lady Beatrice.
Beatrice: His lady, his love. She was a real person. Dante knew of her, but he never met her. He loved her deeply, for her piety, and devotion to the Church (Catholic) made him re-think his life and become more devoted to the Church. Unfortunately, a few short years before the Divine Comedy was written, Beatrice passed away. As for her role in the story, she gives Dante a guide, Virgil and when Virgil can go no further (into Paradiso), she meets Dante in person and brings him the through the celestial city.
Virgil: He is an occupant of Inferno. He resides in the entrance, a sort of Limbo. He was a virtuous pagan. Someone, by virtue of the beauty they gave to the world (poetry, art, other works of the like) he is stuck in a dim place where he is deprived of joy, but not tortured like the other souls deeper within. He guides Dante, all the way through Purgatorio.
WHO SHOULD READ THIS BOOK?
I honestly think that someone about fourteen and up could read this. It also depends on maturity. Parents should retain the right to refuse your access to this book considering its content.
Final Notes: Do not read Dante’s Inferno, and then just stop. Read the entirety of the Divine Comedy. If you stop reading at Inferno, you miss the overall story, and it’s like reading the prolog but not the rest of the story.
I hope this review helped you decide whether to read it! Read well, my friends!