Divine Justice vs. Human Nature
Takes a look at how Dante and Boccaccio make opposing arguments on the issue of divine justice versus human nature.
This paper demonstrates Dante’s and Boccaccio’s opposing views concerning whether the importance of God’s divine justice outweighs the innate human qualities present in all peoples. Using the example of how each portrays members of the clergy in their works, Dante’s preference of divine justice emerges, as does Boccaccio’s preference of human nature.
Dante and Boccaccio disagree on the issue of divine justice versus human nature. In The Divine Comedy: Inferno, Dante employs Fortune to prove the importance of divine justice. As a creation of God, Fortune operates strictly within the will of God, enhancing Dante’s depiction of God’s omnipotence. Dante also illustrates the importance of God’s divine justice through the various people the pilgrim meets in the circles of the Inferno, specifically members of the clergy. In sentencing these men to hell, Dante demonstrates the fair and impartial manner in which God judges all people. He points out that God does not favor the clergymen because of their church titles, but judges all people according to the same moral and religious standards. Boccaccio, on the other hand, utilizes the same constructions in The Decameron, but uses them to contradict the previously accepted philosophies set forth in the Inferno. Boccaccio presents Fortune as God’s enemy, a power that provides earth with more than it needs.
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