Dante Alighieri The Divine Comedy Argumentative Essay Example

The Divine Comedy, which was written by Dante Alighieri between the years 1308 and 1321, is generally regarded as the peak of Italian epic poetry. Dante Alighieri wrote the poem between the years 1308 and 1321 (Doré, p.1). It is considered to be one of the best pieces of writing that has ever been written due to the fact that it is an allegory, which means that it is rich with symbolism, and it also has an emotional depth. Dante writes in the first person for the entirety of the poem to explain the introspective visions he has of his journey through hell, purgatory, and paradise (heaven). A blend of medieval beliefs, mythology, the teachings of Catholicism, and those of Judeo-Christianity are presented in the poem as a worldview that is presented in its whole. Dante’s work benefits in terms of credibility and depth as a result of the author’s consistent usage of biblical allusions throughout his works. Every single time he quotes from one of his other sources, the poetry in those passages is completely disconnected from what is actually going on in the world. Dante’s “Divine Comedy” is based on Muhammad’s “Night Journey,” which represents not only the Bible but also the Islamic tradition, which is referred to as hadiths. Dante used this as an extra source. According to the findings of one researcher, the philosophical traditions of both China and Christianity have been “extraordinarily significantly impacted” by Islamic eschatology (Scott pp 560). The Divina Commedia by Dante is just one example of the many situations in which Islamic influence may be observed in Christian apocalyptic literature; other examples include the following: To be fair to Dante, it is essential to emphasize that he never intended for his writing to be religious; rather, he wanted for it to be literary. This is the most important point to remember while attempting to be fair to Dante. It is imperative that this point be brought up since it is necessary to treat Dante in a just manner. It is not unexpected that this has been a popular topic for millennia because it embodies the human need to understand the mysteries of life and death. In point of fact, this should not come as a big surprise at all (Bianucci, p.3)

In a number of different ways, the Bible is set against the poetry that is being read. Purgatory is a notion that is maintained by Roman Catholics but is not supported by evidence. It is instantly clear that one-third of the book is devoted to Purgatory. As Dante and the Roman poet Virgil make their journey through the seven levels of Purgatory, Virgil serves as Dante’s tour guide in the epic that bears his name. The sinner is compelled to climb each terrace, which represents one of the seven cardinal sins until he has triumphed over his natural propensity to indulge in sinful behavior. Each terrace is symbolic of a different cardinal sin. Only those people who are able to “purge” themselves of all of their transgressions will be given access to paradise. This is because heaven is off-limits to everyone else. It is not feasible to square the teachings of Purgatory theology and the Bible with the idea that redeemed sinners are given another chance to amend their life after death. This is because of the incompatibility between the two sources. The Bible makes it quite plain that there will be a judgment waiting for each of us after death: “seek the Lord while He may be found” (Isaiah 55:6). (9:27 in Hebrews). None of our future actions will have any impact on the final result; it will not change in any way. After this life, there is absolutely no opportunity for salvation of any kind. There is no way out. To put it another way, there is an unlimited number of opportunities for atonement for anyone who is still living and who places their confidence in Jesus Christ (Holmes, p.3). This is because Jesus died on the cross for the sins of the world (John 3:16; Romans 10:9–10; Acts 16:31). According to the teachings of the Bible, only Jesus Christ has the power to cleanse a person of their old, sinful character and replace it with a new, holy nature (2 Corinthians 5:17).

The final two books of The Divine Comedy contain Dante’s descriptions of the many levels of Paradise as well as the circles of Hades. These descriptions may be found in both books. The Bible does not provide any of these graphic depictions of the suffering and torment that are found in hell, despite the fact that Dante portrays the Inferno in a substantial amount of detail throughout his work. The Inferno is Dante’s most famous work. Some of them are modeled after the customs that are observed in Islam. On the 26th day of Rajab, which is the seventh month of the Islamic calendar, Muslims around the world participate in an annual event that is referred to as “the night of ascension.” This occasion is mentioned in verse 17:1 of the Qur’an. (lailat al-miraj). The notion that Dante’s Divine Comedy is a fantasy interpretation of this Islamic issue is held by a large number of people, and this viewpoint takes into account not only the primary framework of the story but also a significant number of the story’s minute details. This is one of the more popular interpretations of the story.

Certain individuals are of the opinion that Dante’s Inferno’s terrifying scenes were motivated by his fear for his own potential for redemption. This viewpoint is held by some readers. Despite this, some of the most notable distinctions between Dante’s Inferno and Hades described in the Bible are as follows:

Purgatory is composed of a few different levels (1). Dante’s depiction of hell consists of a series of nine concentric rings. Each circle depicts a more repulsive location in which sinners are punished according to the gravity of their transgressions. The Divine Comedy served as the inspiration for Dante’s depiction of hell. Luke 12:47–48 conveys the idea that persons who are tossed into hell would endure more than one sort of torment once they are there. This interpretation is based on the fact that the word “hell” is used twice in the verse. On the other hand, nowhere in the book does it explain the concept of hell having concentric rings, nor does it go into detail about its many levels.

Second, there is a wide variety of extra forms of discipline that can be applied if it is deemed necessary to do so. In Dante’s vision of hell, some of the punishments included being whipped without end, having one’s skin eaten off by insects, being forced to wallow in mud, and having one’s body submerged in boiling blood. Other punishments included being forced to wallow in mud and having one’s skin eaten off by humans (Cantor. P.140). Some of the less serious repercussions include constantly going in circles, gazing in the wrong direction, and making an effort to do something that is simply not possible. On the other hand, the Bible describes hell as a region of “outer darkness” where individuals would “wail and gnash their teeth.” There is no doubt that Dante could not have thought of anything more dreadful than the anguish that awaits a sinner in hell who refuses to repent of the sins they have committed. This is unquestionably the case.

In the penultimate canto of his work, which he labeled “Paradiso,” Dante describes the paradise that, in his mind, should be. As we progress further into this section, Dante will be guided through the subsequent nine spheres, and at each level, God’s presence will become more obvious. At the very least, to some degree, the ranking of souls in Dante’s hereafter is dependent on the degree to which each person possesses a natural predisposition to adore God. This is at the very least true to some extent. The individuals who fall into the following nine categories are to blame for the circumstances in which they find themselves at the present time. On the other hand, the Bible makes it very plain that even a person’s most virtuous behaviors are not enough to merit salvation or a seat in paradise, and this is one of its most controversial teachings. Only if we put our faith and hope in the sacrifice that Jesus made for our sins on the cross and allow his perfect righteousness to be imputed to us can we be saved, and only then can we be sure of a seat in heaven (Matthew 26:28; 2 Corinthians 5:21). In addition, the argument that in order to draw closer to God, we need to rise through a sequence of progressively celestial realms, which does not have any foundation in the Scriptures, does not have any support in the Scriptures. In heaven, the place where we will worship God and witness his majesty, we will have unbroken access to a direct channel of communication with the Almighty at all times (Revelation 22:3–4). All those who have put their faith in Jesus Christ will be able to spend eternity in heaven with God because they have chosen to put their trust in him.

In Dante’s masterpiece, The Divine Comedy, one of the primary focuses is on how individuals can achieve salvation via their own actions. Purgatory is a place where people go to try to make amends for their wrongdoings, whereas paradise is a place where individuals are rewarded to varied degrees based on how good or terrible they were in their previous life. Purgatory is a place where people go to try to make amends for their wrongdoings. Dante is of the opinion that man will never stop looking for a way to make amends or get out of his responsibilities, even in the afterlife. This view is expressed by Dante in the Divine Comedy. According to the teachings of the Bible, once a person has passed away, their work is over rather than continuing on in the life that follows. The apostle John then heard a voice coming from above saying, “Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from this point forward.” The apostle John heard a voice say, “Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from this point on.” This was a reference to the future, and John heard the voice say this. They have received confirmation from the Holy Spirit that it is now safe for them to retire because their work will be carried on after death. Faith is the only thing that can rescue a person who claims to follow Christ, and God is the owner of both faith and the good acts that faith creates in a person (Hebrews 12:2). (Eph. 2:10 ). Even if some Christians may enjoy reading The Divine Comedy as a work of fiction, they should keep in mind that the Bible is the sole source of eternal truth and the only guide to religion that is without error (Vasoli pp. 210).

However, many other critics argue that Dante’s Divine Comedy is a perfect depiction of heaven and hell. They offer several reasons for this: To begin, Dante’s “Divine Comedy” provides a depiction of “heaven” and “hell” that is extraordinarily specific and accurate. Dante paints a picture of hell in his poem “The Inferno” as a place that is empty, gloomy, and frigid, and where the damned are tormented for their sins. Dante’s description of purgatory in Purgatorio depicts it as a place where the souls of the deceased go to be cleansed before being admitted into heaven. Dante paints a picture of heaven in the Paradiso as a realm that is full of light, beauty, and pleasure. The statements made in the Bible on each of these locations are compatible with each of these descriptions. Second, the people who live in these locations are portrayed in Dante’s Divine Comedy in a manner that is both believable and true. Dante encountered in the Inferno with several characters, including Satan, Lucifer, and the Devil. Dante encounters the souls of the deceased who are going through the process of purification in Purgatorio. Dante had encounters with heavenly beings, such as angels and saints, in the Canto del Paradiso. Each of these figures is depicted in a manner that is true to form and is consistent with how they appear in the bible.

Third, Dante’s Divine Comedy provides an accurate depiction of the activities that take place in these locations. Dante has the sinners he describes in the Divine Comedy suffer the consequences of their actions in the poem Inferno. Dante witnesses the purification of the souls of the deceased during the Purgatorio. Dante has a vision of angels and saints rejoicing and living in perfect happiness in the Paradiso (Alighieri. P.2).  Every one of these occurrences is broken down in minute detail, and every one of these descriptions aligns with what the Bible says about them.

However, these arguments may not hold any ground since they are not supported by substantial evidence. First, Dante’s Divine Comedy is not an accurate description of heaven and hell. In the Inferno, Dante describes hell as a dark, cold, and desolate place where the damned are tortured for their sins. However, the Bible does not describe hell as a dark and cold place. Instead, it describes hell as a place of fire and torment. In the Purgatorio, Dante describes purgatory as a place where the souls of the dead are purified before entering heaven. However, the Bible does not mention purgatory. In the Paradiso, Dante describes heaven as a place of light, beauty, and bliss. However, the Bible does not describe heaven as a place of light and beauty. It instead describes heaven as a place of righteousness and peace. Second, Dante’s Divine Comedy also inaccurately portrays the characters who populate these places. In Inferno, Dante meets such characters as Lucifer, Satan, and the Devil. However, the Bible does not mention these characters. In Purgatorio, Dante meets the souls of the dead who are being purified. However, the Bible does not mention the purification of souls. In the Paradiso, Dante meets the angels and saints who live in heaven. However, the Bible does not mention the angels and saints living in heaven (McCall., 1979). Third, Dante’s Divine Comedy inaccurately describes the events that occur in these places. In the Inferno, Dante witnesses the sinners being punished for their crimes. However, the Bible does not mention the punishment of sinners in hell. In Purgatorio, Dante sees the souls of the dead being purified. However, the Bible does not mention the purification of souls in purgatory. In the Paradiso, Dante sees the angels and saints living in heavenly bliss (Alighieri et al., pp.3). However, the Bible does not mention the angels and saints living in heavenly bliss. In conclusion, Dante’s Divine Comedy is not an accurate description of heaven and hell. It inaccurately portrays the characters who populate these places and the events that occur in them. It is not a work of great religious and spiritual importance and should not be read by anyone.

In conclusion, Dante’s Divine Comedy is not a biblically accurate description of heaven and hell. In the Bible, heaven is described as a place where God resides, and hell is described as a place of punishment for sinners. Dante’s Divine Comedy, however, presents a different view of these two destinations. In Dante’s version, heaven is a place where the good resides, and hell is a place where the wicked are punished. This difference in portrayal may be due to Dante’s own personal beliefs, or it may be due to the fact that he was writing during a time when the Catholic Church held more sway over people’s beliefs (Ryan, pp. 140). Either way, it is clear that Dante’s Divine Comedy is not a completely accurate portrayal of heaven and hell according to the Bible.

Works Cited

Alighieri, Dante, Laurence Binyon, and Dante Gabriel Rossetti. The divine comedy. Agenda Editions, 1979.

Alighieri, Dante. Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy: Inferno. Commentary. Vol. 2. Indiana University Press, 1996.

Bianucci, Raffaella, et al. “Pain and its management: Dante’s Divine Comedy.” Postgraduate Medical Journal (2021).

Cantor, Paul A. “The uncanonical Dante: The divine comedy and Islamic philosophy.” Philosophy and Literature 20.1 (1996): 138-153.

Doré, Gustave. The Doré Illustrations for Dante’s Divine Comedy. Courier Corporation, 2012.

Holmes, Olivia. Dante’s Two Beloveds: Ethics and Erotics in the Divine Comedy. Yale University Press, 2008.

King James Bible

McCall, Andrew. The Medieval Underworld. New York: Barnes & Noble, 1979.

Musa, Mark, Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy: Inferno Commentary. Bloomington: Indiana University, 1996


Ryan, Christopher, “The Theology of Dante”, in The Cambridge Companion to Dante, ed. by Rachel Jacoff (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), pp. 136–152

Scott, John A. Understanding Dante. University of Notre Dame Press, 2004.

Scott, John A., “Dante’s Allegory”, Romance Philology, 26.3 (1973), 558–591

Vasoli, Cesare, “Filosofia e teologia in Dante”, in Dante nella critica d’oggi: risultati e prospettive, ed. by Umberto Bosco (Florence: Le Monnier, 1965), pp. 47-71

Williams, A.N., “The Theology of the Comedy”, in The Cambridge Companion to Dante, ed. by Rachel Jacoff, 2nd edn (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), pp. 201–217