10 Reasons to read Dante

Dante’s Divine Comedy is a journey through the afterlife of Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise, written by one of the greatest classical poets in history. Here are ten reasons why this great work of literature should still be read today.


1. The Divine Comedy is a gripping and fascinating journey through the afterlife unequaled in literature.

Many scholars believe that the Divine Comedy is the greatest single work of poetry ever written. In the words of T.S Elliot: “Dante and Shakespeare divide the world between them – there is no third.”

2. The story is as exciting and fresh today as it was in the 14th century.

Monsters, adventure, politics, sex, love, relationships, good and evil, this story has it all.

3. It can be enjoyed and appreciated on many levels.

Besides being the ultimate adventure, The Divine Comedy is loaded with history, intrigue, allegory, religion, and yes even comedy.

4. This is a work that can’t be read just once.

Like all great literature, this work demands multiple readings. It speaks to us wherever we are in life’s journey, and grows as we grow.

5. It covers the whole range of emotions.

Frustration, confusion, terror, rage, compassion, and love. And that’s just in the first book.

6. It’s an education in theology, philosophy, and history.

Learn about Aquinas, the classical philosophers, artists, and poets as well as the political, and religious leaders of Dante’s lifetime.

7. The inhabitants of Hell remind us some people we know.

Let’s face it, maybe somebody in the office?

8. Souls don’t always end up where you think.

Popes in Hell, killers in Heaven, it’s all about redemption and mercy.

9. Everyone loves a story about a journey.

Earth, Hell, Purgatory, Heaven. The greatest journey.

10. It has a happy ending.

After a rough start, Dante ends up in Heaven. This is ultimately a story of hope.

Dante’s 3 Keys to Happiness

Botticelli’s Inferno

A Beginner’s Guide to Dante

Summary of the Circles of Hell


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14 thoughts on “10 Reasons to read Dante

  1. dantes work is a masterpiece it haunted me until i read it and it captured my mind to an extent of eternity hahaha

  2. If you are ever in Second Life, come check out the virtual inferno 🙂

    I feel the same way about the text, and I believe everyone should read it! Thanks for a great post!

  3. Just a wonderful read, awaiting the continuation.
    Re # 1, I would add Goethe to the list, sorry T.S.Elliot.

  4. Dante and Shakespeare were great poets but couldn’t even begin to compare with
    Milton. Milton’s erudition made them look like grade schoolers and his use of language
    went over the spiritless T.S. Eliot’s head. ( There is only one l in “Eliot” ). I do not even consider scribblers like Eliot and Pound poets because they were all style and no substance. PARADISE LOST, for example, is by far the greatest of all literary works because of its tremendous scope, radical politics and religion and form that is based on at least ten languages Milton was fluent in. Could Shakespeare have written
    Hamlet” if he was blind? NO! Could Dante have written his works blind? NO! The fact
    that Milton’s prose had a tremendous impact on the English Civil War and The Declaration Of Independence makes him the greatest prose writer as well. If you still
    doubt Milton’s unequaled genius consider the empiricist Hobbes who disliked poetry
    but conceded Milton was the greatest Latin prose writer ever. T.S. Eliot did not dig deep enough into Milton to understand that Milton was the greatest writer ever. And
    even Pound’s “wise” quote that “poetry is news that stays news” is a rehashing of
    Milton’s aim to do “things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme” from PARADISE LOST.
    The fact that Milton was the greatest militant writer and champion of freedom ( read
    “Aereopagetica” the greatest polemic ever written ) and his later works and you’ll see an incredible genius who suffered but remained determined to create a just world for all. Milton also had an incredible sense of humour and when Charles II was restored
    to the throne he said to Milton “God took your eyesight for killing my father” to which Milton responded “God took your father’s head for being a tyrant.” Few people realize
    this but up until the 20th century Milton was regarded by almost every poet and critic as greater than Shakespeare. What really bothered people in the existentialist cliques
    of 20th century writing was William Blake who claimed in his poem “Milton” that Milton was the reincarnation of the pagan Jesus Christ. I agree with Blake.

  5. Why does everyone have to compete about who the greatest poet is? Just enjoy them for there time and work! Geez

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  7. Dante is one of the most amazing books that everyone should read. It covers the entire topic about the death body as it travels through the unknown. Also very critical of today’s religious belief.

  8. “Dante and Shakespeare divide the world between them – there is no third.”

    I would disagree – Milton would be my third. Wonderful epic poems!

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