Divine Comedy: Biography: Dante Alighieri
Born in Florence, Italy, in 1265, Dante Alighieri led a distinguished and dramatic life. Well-educated and of noble lineage, Dante was betrothed to Gemma Donati when he was a child. During the Middle Ages, marriage betrothals determined family alliances so although Dante and Gemma had at least three children, Pietro, Jacopo, and Antonia (Dante's work sometimes mentions a third son, Giovanni), the love of Dante's life was Beatrice. Dante canonized his courtly love for Beatrice in many of his works including TheDivine Comedy . Throughout his life, Dante reveled in the misery of admiring Beatrice from afar and his later works show that Beatrice became Dante's inspiration even though she died when she was only twenty-five years old.
Dante first got involved in politics in 1289 when he fought for Florence against the city of Arezzo. Later, Dante became a prior for the city of Florence and an ambassador to San Gimignano. Two political factions developed during this period: the Guelphs and the Ghibellines. Middle-class merchants who wanted to rid Italy of its foreign emperor and increase the power of the individual communes made up the Guelph party while feudal aristocrats who wanted to retain the power of the emperor in Italy made up the Ghibelline party. Additionally, two factions divided the Guelph party: the Whites, those who favored imperial rule, and the Blacks, those who favored papal rule. Dante opposed papal interference in secular affairs of city governance so he, as a Guelph, sided with the Whites against the Blacks. In 1301, Charles of Valois came to Florence under the pretense of helping make peace between the Whites and the Blacks. He was, however, an ally of the Blacks. Charles' party took over the city and exiled Dante and other White partisans. Although he tried, Dante was never to return to Florence again. Dante spent the rest of his life writing poems, often critical of current leaders, and remaining active in politics in various cities including Verona and Ravenna, where he died in 1321 at age 56.
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Divine Comedy Study GuideChoose to Continue
- Divine Comedy
- Inferno section 1- Inferno section 5
- Inferno section 6- Inferno section 10
- Inferno section 11- Inferno section 15
- Inferno section 21- Inferno section 25
- Inferno section 16- Inferno section 20
- Inferno section 26- Inferno section 30
- Inferno section 31- Purgatorio section 1
- Purgatorio section 2- Purgatorio section 6
- Purgatorio section 7- Purgatorio section 11
- Purgatorio section 12- Purgatorio section 16
- Purgatorio section 17- Purgatorio section 21
- Purgatorio section 22- Purgatorio section 26
- Purgatorio section 27- Purgatorio section 31
- Paradiso section 4- Paradiso section 8
- Purgatorio section 32- Paradiso section 3
- Paradiso section 9- Paradiso section 13
- Paradiso section 14- Paradiso section 18
- Paradiso section 19- Paradiso section 23
- Paradiso section 24- Paradiso section 28
- Paradiso section 29- Paradiso section 33
- Character Profiles
- Metaphor Analysis
- Theme Analysis
- Top Ten Quotes
- Dante Alighieri