I’ve been in Edit mode on my work in progress, and came across the following excerpt that I wanted to share:
He pulled a volume from the shelf and sat in a wingchair beside the piano. The book’s title: Dante’s Divine Comedy. Kalin rested the book in his lap and leaned close to read. Cord watched him become absorbed.
Kalin read aloud, “And of that second kingdom will I sing wherein the human spirit doth purge itself, and to ascend to heaven becometh worthy.” He slapped the book shut, lifted it from his lap and hit it against his forehead. “Fucking poetry. Why can’t they just say what they mean in plain English?”
Cord said, “That story is about descending into hell, and climbing a mountain back out the other side. It describes the seven virtues, the seven deadly sins, and the seven terraces of purgation. It’s about the nature of sin, and atonement for sins. I found it interesting that Virgil, a poet and philosopher, leads Dante up the mountain out of hell, but only leads him part way. In the last four cantos, Beatrice, who Dante loved, takes over as guide and leads him to earthly paradise. For me, it means that the intellect can only take you so far out of hell, but it takes love to lead you all the way into bliss.”
Kalin smiled. “I’ve read the cliff notes. They say it outlines the theory that all sin arises from love—either perverted love, deficient love, or the love of objects.”
“Funny, I never got that. So to Dante, impure love causes one to fall into hell, yet true love is the only thing that can lead you back out. So hell must be where love is purified?”