Divine Comedy 2 : Hell
Readers often cannot understand how such a serious work may be called a “comedy”. In Dante`s time, all serious scholarly works were written in Latin, a tradition that would persist for several hundred years more until the waning years of the Enlightenment, and works written in any other language were assumed to be more trivial in nature. Furthermore, the word “comedy” in the classical sense refers to works which reflect belief in an ordered universe, in which events tended toward not only a happy or amusing ending but one influenced by a Providential will that orders all things to an ultimate good. By this meaning of the word, as Dante himself wrote in a letter to Cangrande I della Scala, the progression of the pilgrimage from Hell to Paradise is the paradigmatic expression of comedy since the work begins with the pilgrim`s moral confusion and ends with the vision of God.
“IN the midway of this our mortal life, I found me in a gloomy wood, astray Gone from the path direct: and e`en to tell It were no easy task, how savage wild That forest, how robust and rough its growth, Which to remember only, my dismay Renews, in bitterness not far from death..” (Dante)