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Dr. Chona M. Adlawan


This study aimed to analyze the role of women characters in Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy, specifically the first canticle of the epic, the Inferno. This qualitative research employed textual analysis in interpreting and analyzing how  the different women characters were portrayed by Dante in his Inferno. This study also identified the images and symbols found in the Inferno. From the findings of this study, inputs for teaching literature and values education were drawn.

Based on the analysis, it was found out that most of Dante’s women characters present in the Inferno, were portrayed as beautiful, powerful, brave and loyal. Electra, Penthesilea, Camilla, and Lavinia were placed in the contemplative Limbo, the abode for the noble people. It implied that loyalty and bravery were important for Dante. Some women characters like Helen, Dido, Semiramis, Francheska, and Cleopatra were placed in the lustful. For Dante, these women suffered in the second circle because they were driven by their passion for love, and lust according to Dante is always associated with love. Some were turned into monsters like Medusa and Erichtho, who were placed in the circle of the wrathful. Their rage and anger turned them into monsters.

Beatrice, the ultimate love of Dante, however was portrayed as the wonder and power of divine grace. She was described as the beauty that motivated and inspired Dante in his journey. She represented the ideal of beauty and grace that guided Dante through Paradise.

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