So Deeply To Be Reverenced, So Fair, Essay

My lady is when her smile bestows,
All sound of speaking falters to a close
And eyes which would behold her do not dare
Of praises sung of her she is aware,
Yet clad in sweet humility she goes
A miracle in which the world may share.

Dante Alighieri
Sonet XXVI Lavita Nueva
At age nine, Dante was graced by the beauty of Beatrice Portinari, and for the rest of
his life, many of his writings portrayed his intense love for merely the thought of her
which seemed to haunt him. Although his relationship with her was only from afar,
within his mind, Beatrice captivated him as he believed she was a miracle sent from

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Women have been portrayed in every way throughout time. More often, women have
portrayed as a model of Eve, the misguided seductress of Adam in the Bible. The lure of
a woman is ambiguous, a mystery of the sensual persona that has captivated many
medieval writers. Dante does not portray women as the weakness of all man, instead in
his Comedia, Beatrice is the divine beauty and guide of his journey into heaven.
Undoubtedly, Beatrice captivated Dante enough for him to dedicate his Comedia to, and
through his vivid imagination, he recreates her as a heavenly spirit who protects his
ultimate fate as she is the most influencial character.

Dante wrote La Comedia in the age of religious devotion and fear of sin, which
signifies La Comedia as an ultimate portrayal of medieval thought. A sure anxiety of the
afterlife was cultivated by the rise of Christianity. What is the ultimate sin? How does
one repent sin? What is the journey of the afterlife? Endless questions surely haunted the
medieval mind, and Dante was surely fascinated by the possibilities. Within his
curiosities was beatrice, who enchanted Dante and possibly encouraged his
medieval mind, and Dante was surely fascinated by the possibilities. Within his
curiosities was Beatrice, who enchanted Dante and possibly encouraged his
writing of La Comedia after her death.

My Soul- Such years had passed since last it saw
that lady and stood trembling in her presence,
stupefied by the power of holy awe-
now, by some power that shone from her above
the reach and witness of my mortal eyes,
felt the full mastery of enduring love.

Dante Alighieri
La Comedia
Canto XXX Purgatorio
This is Dante’s first sight of Beatrice in La Comedia. He has not seen her in ten years
since her death, but at this first sight, he immediately feels his deep love for her. He
dresses her in the colors of hope, faith and caritas, three divine qualities that he saw in her
earthly presence and also here, on his way to Paradiso. Beatrice as a woman was Dante’s
inspiration, and even after her death, he portrays her as his most divine persona of

In the medieval Christian mind, all divine beings (such as Beatrice) could read into the
true soul of a mortal man. It is difficult to analyze Dante’s motivation to write La
Comedia, but his portrayal of Beatrice may have been a personal prayer to her. If Dante
revealed his enchantment of her soul, his belief that she was a miracle sent from God, and
his absolute love that consumed his every thought, possibly she would allow him into her
heart when he died and made his own journey into heaven.

Oh lady in whom my hope shall ever soar
and who my salvation suffered even
to set your feet upon Hell’s broken floor
Through your power and your excellence alone
have I recognized the goodness and the grace
inherent in the things I have been shown.

Dante Aligheri
La Comedia
Canto XXXI Paradiso
Throughout his life, Dante’s most profound writings have been inspired by his
utmost love for Beatrice. Dante graciously thanks Beatrice for his understanding of the
divine virtues in his Comedia. Throughout his life, Dante had been inspired by the mere
presence of her beauty and grace on earth, and as he portrayed her angelic persona in La
Comedia. La Vita Nueva was a poetry book devoted solely to her, as La Comedia was his
ultimate vision and appreciation of her spirit within him.

Nicole Felice Olson


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