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Why should you read Dante’s “Divine Comedy”? - Sheila Marie Orfano

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“Abandon all hope, ye who enter here…” Inscribed above the Gate of Hell, this prophecy sets into motion an epic journey for salvation. Written over 10 years, Dante Alighieri’s three-part narrative poem “Divine Comedy” is both an allegorical imagining of the soul’s journey towards God and a scathing political commentary. Sheila Maria Orfano shares its timeless themes of love, sin and redemption.

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TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Sheila Marie Orfano
  • Director Tomás Pichardo-Espaillat
  • Narrator Addison Anderson
  • Animator Tomás Pichardo-Espaillat
  • Composer Cem Misirlioglu
  • Music Cem Misirlioglu
  • Director of Production Gerta Xhelo
  • Editorial Producer Alex Rosenthal
  • Associate Producer Bethany Cutmore-Scott
  • Associate Editorial Producer Dan Kwartler
  • Fact-checker Eden Girma
  • See more
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Dante Alighieri was a famed Italian poet, writer, political thinker, and scholar of philosophy and theology in the Late Middle Ages. Born in Florence in 1265, he was heavily involved in Florentine politics and outspokenly critical of practices he deemed corrupt within the Catholic Church. This is apparent in his most celebrated work, a three-part epic poem called the Divine Comedy.

In addition to the Divine Comedy and other poetry, Dante wrote treatises on politics, such as De Monarchia, and philosophical compositions, like Convivio. He is also well-known for his unrequited love of Beatrice Portinari, which inspired many of his poems. Arguably, the most notable feature of his work was his novel use of the vernacular, instead of Latin, in his writing. For this, he is considered to be the father of Italian language.

In 1302, Dante was exiled from Florence by an opposing political party. He never set foot in his beloved city again, dying in Ravenna, Italy, in 1321. His legacy lives on in classic and contemporary art and culture.



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About TED-Ed Animations

TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Sheila Marie Orfano
  • Director Tomás Pichardo-Espaillat
  • Narrator Addison Anderson
  • Animator Tomás Pichardo-Espaillat
  • Composer Cem Misirlioglu
  • Music Cem Misirlioglu
  • Director of Production Gerta Xhelo
  • Editorial Producer Alex Rosenthal
  • Associate Producer Bethany Cutmore-Scott
  • Associate Editorial Producer Dan Kwartler
  • Fact-checker Eden Girma
  • See more