YMMV / The Divine Comedy

The epic poem

  • Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory: Italian literary critics have dissected the poem word for word over the centuries finding new meanings for each verse. And knowing Dante's love for allegories, they might be partially right.
  • First Installment Wins: The Inferno is the best known part of the work, probably for its Nightmare Fuel.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Ugolino committed treason, but you can't help but feel sorry for him after he's imprisoned in a tower to starve to death with his sons.
  • Memetic Mutation: "Abandon all hope, ye who enter here."
  • Misaimed Fandom: Some readers mistake what Francesca had with Paolo for love, when it was meant to be lust.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Inferno is one of the most detailed accounts of what Hell might feel like. The end results aren't pretty:
    • The Second Circle, meant for people overcome with lust, are doomed to be buffeted about by the terrible winds of a violent storm, never knowing rest. While this is a benign punishment by the poem's standards, it's still deeply unsettling.
  • Tear Jerker:
    • Ugolino's backstory and tragic death.
    • Brunetto Latini's fate. Driven home in that Dante does describe him as a "radiance among men" and other praises.
    • The story of the suicides, particularly the one who committed suicide after being imprisoned for a false charge.
  • Values Dissonance:
    • Ulysses is in the Eight Circle for his trickery with the Wooden Horse and for false counsel during the Trojan War; while the Greeks admired his cunning, the Romans despised him for his deceitful nature during the War, since they believed themselves to be descended from the Trojans. Heck, that final suicidal voyage that drove Ulysses and his men to their deaths? Dante's own invention. Though it should be noted that Dante would not have access to Homer's epic poems when he wrote Inferno only Virgil's The Aeneid, where he is dubbed "Cruel Ulysses".
    • Brutus and Cassius are second only to Judas and Satan himself in their punishment, each being gnawed in one of Satan's mouths, while Julius Caesar himself is in Limbo. Given that Brutus and Cassius assassinated Caesar out of fear of his becoming a tyrant, while Caesar conducted ruthless and bloody wars of conquest to make himself ruler of Rome, modern eyes are much less likely to see Caesar's assassination as quite so black and white as Dante did.
    • For those who don't share a medieval Catholic vision of the afterlife, or medieval Catholic ideas of right and wrong, the punishments can come across as Disproportionate Retribution in the extreme.
    • Paradiso places two nuns who were forced into marriagenote  in the lowest sphere of Heaven, since the marriages broke their vows of chastity. This is abhorrent to modern readers, who naturally question how unconsenting victims could put in a lesser place for having evil done to them. Dante's guide answers these concerns in two ways: one, the nuns normally sit with every other saint and angel in God's Empyrean and two, the guide claims that the nun Piccarda failed to "absolutely" will to avoid the marriage.

      This second answer brings us back to Values Dissonance, since the modern thinking about sexual assault makes it quite clear that the victim is never, ever at fault. Even if Piccarda was never assaulted sexually, the idea that she was in some way responsible for a kidnapping that she didn't consent parallels the victim blaming unjustly faced by victims of rape. Dante's depiction of Piccarda is well-thought out, but that doesn't ease the moral gap between her fate and modern ethics of consent.
  • Values Resonance:
    • Even after seven centuries that saw Christian society change radically, The Divine Comedy continues to be admired throughout the Church for its genius portrayal of a life that begins in sin and misery, strives to do better, and ultimately finds rest in Love. It is difficult to find a better endorsement for an author than to have the Pope call you a "prophet of hope" when your poem sets a few Popes on fire.
    • Although he reaffirms his respect for the Papacy and the Church's authority, Dante spares no venom when cutting down the corruption in the priesthood and religious orders, and has no problem using the Saints as mouthpieces for the sake of this condemnation. Hearing this from the greatest Catholic poet of all time earned the work special appreciation from the Protestants who sought to reform the Church and those struggling with faith in the wake of the clergy sex abuse scandal.
  • What an Idiot: Some of the hypocrites have this response to Virgil trusting the devils regarding how to cross over their tier of Malebolgia when, in fact, all of the bridges are broken. One essentially says "Lying is in the devil's nature. Weren't you aware of this?"

The band

  • Awesome Music: Pretty much the entirety of Promenade. It's been compared to Ulysses for a reason.
  • Crowning Moment of Funny: On the B-side "Births, Deaths & Marriages", a kid breaks his leg on purpose so that he receives 'get well soon' messages on his cast. He ends up with "YOU SUCK" written on it instead.
  • Ear Worm: "Take the National Express when your life is a mess, it'll make you smi-i-i-i-ile..."
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: The Divine Comedy was initially more successful in France than in Britain.


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