Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Dante Alighieri's Paradiso. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
Paradiso: Plot Summary
Paradiso: Detailed Summary & Analysis
Paradiso: Theme Wheel
Brief Biography of Dante Alighieri
Historical Context of Paradiso
Other Books Related to Paradiso
- Full Title: Paradiso
- When Written: Entire Divine Comedy written c. 1308–1320; Paradiso likely written between 1318 and summer of 1321
- Where Written: Ravenna, Italy
- Literary Period: Medieval
- Genre: Narrative Epic Poem; Christian Allegorical Fiction
- Setting: The heavenly spheres (envisioned as the solar system and the stars beyond), Wednesday following Easter, 1300
- Climax: Dante beholds God in the tenth heaven.
- Antagonist: Dante’s doubts and deficient knowledge
- Point of View: First Person
Extra Credit for Paradiso
Paradise Lost? Shortly before Dante’s death, he had to make an emergency diplomatic journey, and he left a portion of his Paradiso manuscript—containing the last 13 cantos—at his friend Giardino’s house. In the aftermath of his sudden death, Dante’s sons, Jacopo and Pietro, were alarmed to discover that Paradiso appeared to stop at Canto 20. Thankfully, with the help of Giardino, the missing cantos were eventually found and copied.
Layered Meanings. Dante intended for the Divine Comedy to be read both literally and allegorically—literally as an engaging adventure story (Dante’s ascent through the Heavens) and allegorically as a series of images depicting spiritual realities (the story of every soul’s journey toward God). In his use of these twofold literary senses, Dante drew on patterns of biblical interpretation which were popular in medieval Catholic scholarship and preaching.