The Divine Comedy (Divina Commedia) is a poem written by Italian poet Dante Alighieri, who was renown towards the end of the Middle Ages. The exact date it was written cannot be determined but it is estimated that Inferno was written between 1304 and 1307, Purgatorio between 1307 and 1313 and Paradiso between 1313 and 1321. This is obviously the most famous book by Dante, and one of the most influential ones from the period of transition from medieval thought (theocentric) to Renaissance (anthropocentric). It is considered to be one of the top masterpieces of Italian literature and one of the most enlightened works in the world of literature.
From a literal point of view, this epic poem tells the story of Dante’s journeys through Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso. However, critics seem to be of the idea that it is an allegory that represents a soul in its way to God. Dante Alighieri’s La Divina Commedia is an allegory and he called this epic poetry “Comedy” given that poems at the time were either classified as Tragedies or Comedies. The latter had happy endings and were written in a simple language. Tragedies were more serious and written in a more intellectual style. Dante was one of the few at the time who dared to write about something serious (humanity’s redemption) in vulgar Italian, instead of the prestige tongue, which was Latin.
Boccaccio, who added the word Divine to the title of the poem about a century or two later, said that this poem was about Christianity, which is rather controversial. Naturally, since it is a fundamental piece of literature, there are countless interpretations with all sorts of mystical meanings, allegories, etc. Other critics prefer to read it as a literal story. This trend of literal interpretation of La Divina Commedia was particularly strong in the 20th century. Some critics, on the other hand, brought to light and stressed the importance of Muslim eschatology in the structure of Dante’s Inferno.