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The Background and Interpretation of Dantes Inferno The growth of Western Civilization has taken many turns and gone through many phases that have all had an impact on where we are and what we have become today One of the longer periods that lasted one thousand years was the Middle Ages The Middle Ages were a time of ignorance and fear where no one was safe on their own and had to depend on a higher institution for survival The most powerful institution in the Middle Ages was by far the Roman Catholic Church Following the Middle Ages Europe begins another age known as the Renaissance a period of enlightenment in which the veil that covered the eyes of man during the Middle Ages was lifted and Europe began to see the world in a new light During the transition between these two periods Dante Alighieri author of The Divine Comedy was born and died In the most famous book from this trilogy Inferno he merged the Christian doctrines of the Middle Ages and the philosophy mythology and metaphysics of the Ancient Greeks thus creating a testament to his time Dante was born in Florence Italy in 1265 He was born into a family of lesser nobility and death claimed his mother when he was very young and his father at the age of eighteen When he was about twenty years old he began to write poetry most of it dedicated to Beatrice the love of his life who guides him through Paradiso Dante was never married to Beatrice however Instead she married a wealthy banker and died at the age of twenty-four Her death encouraged Dante to write his first major work entitled La Vita Nuova and dedicated to the memory of his beloved Beatrice As Dante got older he became active in the political life of Florence and joined the guild of physicians and apothecaries
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