The character of Beatrice in Dante’s Divine Comedy is believed to be a real woman, Beatrice Portinari, whom Dante knew briefly as a child. Although very young, he fell deeply in love with her. But as they grew older, both entered into family arranged marriages. However Dante became even more obsessed with Beatrice, and went on to write his first major work, Vita Nuova, as a love poem to her. Beatrice died at a young age, and Dante never recovered from her death. Beatrice is one of Dante’s spiritual Guides in the Divine Comedy and has come to represent all that is good and pure, as well as the theological personification of grace.
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