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In A Dark Wood

Essays on Dante

The Divine Comedy was written from 1308 to 1321 and is the seemingly simple story of a man, generally assumed to be Dante himself, who is miraculously enabled to undertake an ultra-mundane journey, which leads him to visit the souls in Hell, Purgatory and Paradise. He has two guides: Virgil, who leads him through the Inferno and Purgatorio; and Beatrice, who introduces him to Paradiso. Through these fictional encounters taking place from Good Friday evening in 1300 through Easter Sunday and slightly beyond, Dante learns of the exile that is awaiting him (which had, of course, already occurred at the time of the writing). This device allowed Dante not only to create a story out of his pending exile but also to explain the means by which he came to cope with his personal calamity. The depth of his imagery is summarized by the advice of the figure Virgil: "the way out is the way through."

Dante's Recovery

One after another they rose to expose me. Libel and barbs of betrayal dripped from their venomous lips. The president's gavel scarred his lectern as he called out, "Order!" No order of any sort visited either the council chamber or my mind that day...

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When The Teacher Comes

In the twilight of the wood I yearned for food; even more than that, I yearned for a guide to set me on my way. The guide I had been relying on, my body with its aches, pains and sensations, was weakening for lack of nourishment...

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Tools of Character

As difficult as it is to learn to trust a mentor, it is even more arduous to break down our self suspicion. Do we have what it takes to break free of the entanglements of the Dark Wood...

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A Brief History

The Divine Comedy is an allegory of the Way to God - to that union of our wills with the Universal Will in which every creature finds its true self and its true being...

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Bibliography & Links

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