The Divine Comedy: Long, Unusual, and Plenty of Food For Thought
The Divine Comedy, by Dante, is quite the book. It's long, unusual, and I'm still thinking it over.
Here's a really quick summary: Dante, a poet is taken on a trip through the afterlife – Hell, Purgatory and Paradise. Guided by the poet Virgil through the first two locations, Dante is shown the circles of Hell, which have graduated stages of misery. Dante and Virgil talk to many of the souls there, (and they will speak with souls in each of the three locations). At last they come to the very center of Hell, where the traitors Brutus, Judas, and Cassius are eternally gnawed in the teeth of Satan.
The tour continues on to Purgatory, then the planets of Paradise, where Dante is guided by Beatrice through the seven celestial bodies of Heaven. The souls there are residing in different planets according the amount of virtue they did or did not have during their lifetime.
The Divine Comedy is rich in symbolism. To be totally honest, I was rushing and didn't pick up all of it. But even if I didn't “get” all of the metaphor, I am amazed by this vast, compelling and tightly structured work of poetry. It is a strange celestial journal, teeming with wonders and horrors, but the way Dante uses Hell, Purgatory and Heaven – vast, sprawling things – to tell us about less noticeable things was very well executed, I thought.
And it's a poem I'll defiantly have to read again.