VICTOR MANUEL GUZMAN VILLENA
The human being is capable of being located in the world in the moment that symbolizes, this symbolization capacity happens because they imagines and generates an attitude ethics- esthetics before the world.
I have wanted across this writing to use the literature as a tool to explain an imaginary space of the middle age that has been a masterpiece. Therefore I do not pretend to make a critical analysis of the literary work but an exercise of imagination in space through his poetic narrative; the images that shape it serve as guide to enter the multidiversity of spaces that presents to us the world of Dante Alighieri, who was a staurofílax.
The Canto IX of the Hell,verses 61 to 63:
You that have the healthy intelligence
observe the doctrine that hides
under the veil of these enigmatic verses
These verses are in the Ninth Singing, an important number for Dante, then, as he affirms in all his works, Beatriz is nine, and nine, in the medieval numerical symbolism, it is Wisdom, the Supreme Knowledge; the Science that explains the world to the margin of the faith.
Also, this mysterious affirmation finds between the verses 61 and 63 of the Canto, the sum of whose digits is seven and nine. The hell has 9 circles,where the souls of the condemned according to their sins, the purgatory seven cornices and the paradise, again nine circles.
The Divine Comedy is a poem where the real life is mixed with the supernatural one and shows the fight between the anything and immortality; a fights where three kingdoms overlap, three worlds, achieving a sum of multiple visual that are never contradicted or annulled. Three worlds hell, purgatory and paradise reflect three ways of life of the humanity, in them there are reflected the vice, the passage of the vice and the virtue, the condition of the perfect men.
Dante enters in the Fidei d’ Amore in 1283, at the age of 18, shortly after his theoretical meeting with Beatrice. The first one happened in Vita Nuova, when they had both nine years. The Fidei d’ Amore was constituting an secret society interested in the spiritual renewal of the Christendom. Here we are speaking of an epoch in which the corruption already does notch in the church of Rome: wealths, power, ambition. It was the epoch of the papacy of Bonifacio VIII of terrible memory. The Fidei d’ Amore was trying to fight this depravity and return the Christianity to its first purity.
It is said, even, that the Fidei d’ Amore, the Holy FEDE and the Franciscans were three branches different from the same Tertiary Order of the Templars. Dante was formed in the Franciscans and always maintained a close relationship with them.
There was integrating the Fidei d’ Amore the poets Guido Cavalcanti, Cino da Pistoia, Lapo Gianni, Forese Donati, Dante himself, Vitorio Manuele Guimani, Dino Frascobaldi, Guido Orlando and others. Guido Cavalcanti, who always had reputation of extravagant and heretical was the Florentine chief of the Fidei d’ Amore and it was the one that admitted Dante into this secret society. Like educated men, as intellectuals of a new medieval society in development, they were unconformist and they denouncing loudly the ecclesiastic immorality and the attempts of Rome for there prevented the nascent freedoms and the scientific knowledge.
The Divine Comedy should be read in code and has exactly 33 Cantos (signings). Each of these Cantos has exactly 115 or 160 poems, the sum of whose digits is 7.
The 3 parts, hell, purgatory and paradise end up exactly with the same word "star" in the astrological symbolism is number 5 and allegorically pt represents the human being. And this is only a small part of the mysteries that the work contains.
It is then across the vicious ones, penitents and good that the life is revealed in all theirs forms, miseries and deeds, but also there appears the life that is not, the death, that it has its own life, like as a mixture raised by Dante who becomes an architect of the universal and sublime.
The subject of the comedy is the man of all races, creeds, ages; the man who is between the sky and the ground, which essentially is the state of the souls after the death and the form in which they express themselves for their merits or demerits, they become therefore deserving of the punishments or of the divine rewards. Dante uses both of Biblical personages and of beings extracted from the pagan mythology for the creation of his personages, mixing them in the passages indistinctly.
According to his comments he traveled to the hell at the age of 35. The poem begins on the night before Good Friday in the year 1300, "halfway along our life's path" (Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita). The hell that is presents to us has the form of funnel or of inverted cone, which is divided in decreasing circles. The circles are nine, ruinous and atrocious topography; the five first ones form the High Hell, four remaining ones the Low Hell, which is a city with red mosques surrounded by iron walls.
For Aliguieri the hell is descending from the borealis or northern surface narrowing gradually up to the Earth; this connotation that the author does on the Lucifer space comes off the Earth center to the ground inwards, taking into consideration that the penumbras represent the evil, below that then it was not turning in above, it is taken as not wished; below the man the unique thing that exists is undesirable.
Now then, the handling that the author does of this space is more descriptive than in the purgatory and the paradise. It is based on the planning of the medieval city and on the behavior of the human beings of this epoch; the imaginary space of the hell is more tied to the reality, that why he uses some medieval references in the description of some circles, which are typical architectural spaces, like the door of the hell or the city of Dite. This helps us to understand that Dante had discovered the hell in the space that he was inhabiting every day.
The second circle is inhabited by the lustful ones and the persons who sin for love, using it for proper good. Minos judges the souls and immerses them in a big maelstrom that overwhelms them in the absolute solitude.
In the third circle there are the gluttons put in the mud, the haughty ones and the envious ones; flogged on the ground for a strong rain: The Thunderstorm: and skinned by a brain of three heads “The Cerberus”. Dante meets Ciacco and they speak about the discords of Florence.
The fourth circle is the circle of bountiful and greedy, hitting and mocking some with others, they are dragged by enormous weight; here the clergymen, popes and cardinals are covered by a spring of dark waters that generate a marsh.
The fifth one and the sixth circle are shaped by the walled city of Dis surrounded for a lagoon that locks up great fetidity; its entry highlighted by a big door, part of the wall of iron; here the proud ones are, the heretics, free thinkers and the materialists.
The seventh circle watched by Minotaur. It is divided by three circles full of stones and surrounded by a big blood river. From this space every circle begins having divisions that lodge a sorrow in particular, for example the damned spirits that are divided in three: the violent, the abusive and the usurers.
The eighth circle concentrates the fraudulent ones. It comprises ten pits. The first one of the hooligans and the seducers; the second one of the flatterers and courtiers; the third one the simoniacs; the fourth pit the fortune tellers, here Virgilio explains to Dante the origin of “Mantua“; fifth pit those that they deal with the justice; sixth pit the hypocrites; the seventh one the thieves; eighth pit the advisers made flames. Here they explain Ulysses's tragic end; ninth pit the scandalous, schismatic and heretics; the tenth pit the tricksters and forgers.
Ninth Circle is destined for the traitors. It comprises four enclosures. Before arrive to it, there is a well surrounded with giants. Anteo takes the poets to the fund of the ninth circle. In the ninth circle and last, there are the giants, brutal and inert masses that are buried in the ground, confused with towers. Inside it there is a well of four different areas oppressed by thick ices, in it there is the builder of the Tower of Babel who prevented to the world from speaking the same language. In the center of the ground, between ices that wrap the grounds, is Lucifer with half a body out of the glacial surface, chewing Judas like
a plastic toy.
The first enclosure, the Caína, for the traitors to theirs relatives; the second enclosure, the Antenora, traitors to theirs homeland; third enclosure, the Plotomea, the traitors to theirs friends and guests; the fourth enclosure, the Judesca, the traitors to theirs benefactors.
It is interesting that inside the western culture we have always had a conception of the hell full of flames, on the other hand for Dante, ice, caves and the darkness is the Lucifer house.
Nine are the circles of the hell, nine are the patios of the purgatory and nine the stars that shape the paradise; adding up three times three gives nine, which ratifies the importance of the number three in the catholic religion, like the divine Trinity, the three blessing, etc.
In other initiation schools the perfection is 3: it is the unit between the knowledge, force and beauty.
After Dante and Virgilio descend for nine circles of the hell and being in the Lucifer home, they climb for a formed mountain of nine patios that are restricted up to the summit.
In this space, Dante begins already taking material references of the earth and goes back more towards the sense of the nature,is because of it for him, the mountain is the beginning of a big passage towards the sky, where the sorrow can be purged.
The mountain is an island and it has a door; in his hillsides there are staggered patios that mean the mortal sins; the garden of the Eden blooms in the summit, the spaces divided into their interior are:
The first Platform: Dante supported by Virgilio arrives to a platform where the negligent persons are.
Door of the Purgatory: Dante's vision during his sleep; to his awakening he is in the third landing of the mountain, where there is the door of the Purgatory, watched by an angel.
The first circle where the sin of the pride is purged and the proud ones are punished.
The second circle where the envy is purged.
Third circle where the anger is purged. Dante sees in delight some examples of docility. The poets are surrounded with a thick smoke.
The fourth circle where the sin of the indolence is purged. Dante sees in his imagination examples of punished anger.
Fifth circle where the sin of the avarice is purged. Dante's vision punishing the greedy ones.
Sixth circle where the sin of the gluttony is purged and some examples of restraint appear. Stacio explains his permanence between the misers and the lazy ones.
(The seventh circle). Eighth circle a voice gone out of a tree remembers examples of gluttony. An angel guides the poets, Dante and Virgilio to the Ninth Circle.
In this space Dante says goodbye of Virgilio (The knowledge and the Poetry) and meets Beatrice (The Theology) who accompanies him in his trip. Place characterized by celestial spheres moved by angelical choirs that take place of four basic elements: air, fire, water and earth.
The paradise is conformed by nine skies and the god's city; each of them is a sphere that surrounds the earth. The seven first ones were the well-known planets, the eighth one the solar constellations and fixed stars and the ninth one was determined by a crystalline sky that remains immobile, where the paradise is.
The first seven skies or spheres symbolize 7 theologian virtues that are a part of the exploration of the paradise through moral and spiritual considerations.
The first sky: That of the moon (fortitude). Beatrice explains the cause of the spots in the moon.
The second sky: That of Mercury (justice). Beatriz explains the way of satisfying the votes that have been broken.
Third sky: Sphere of Venus (restraint) where the souls of the lovers are. It is show here how a vicious son can be born of a virtuous father.
The fourth sky: That of the sun (prudence). Saint Tomás de Aquino exposes the order with which god created the universe.
Fifth sky: That of Mars (faith), where there are the souls of those who have fought for the faith.
Sixth sky: That of Jupiter (hope), where there are those who have administered properly the justice. Cacciaguida names to many of the spirits that compose the cross.
The seventh sky: That of Saturn (charity) where forming an ascending scale, there are those who devoted themselves to the contemplative life. Satire against the luxury of the clergy in the medieval epoch.
Eighth sky: Descent of Jesus Christ and Virgin Mary to the eighth sky. Coronation of Virgin Mary for the Archangel Gabriel. This sky is shaped by the constellations, handles a clearly mystical and doctrinal scene, where there meet the splendors of the sky and of the earth.
And the last sky: Called the first mobile. Apostrophe of San Pedro against the ecclesiastic villains. Guarded by nine angels that rotate around a distant luminous point there is the Dante's paradise that symbolizes the god's city: the triumphant church.
The city of god: The Divine. Triumph of the angels and of the blessed.
Beatrice does that Dante fixes his attention in the god's city.