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Marian Imagery in Dante’s Paradiso

Clarifying Catholicism

The following was a college essay written by Mary Biese. It has been edited and approved by Christopher Centrella. If you have a Theology essay that you would like published that received a grade of an A- or higher, please be sure to contact us.

By Mary Biese, Notre Dame

The Blessed Virgin Mary becomes more prominent in Dante’s Divine Comedy as the epic hero travels closer to the Beatific Vision. After only a few mentions in the Inferno, Mary appears in almost every chapter of Purgatorio as the exemplar of virtue; in Paradiso, we finally meet the Queen of Heaven in all her splendor. The epic’s last four cantos (XXX-XXXIII) are heavily inundated with Marian imagery and theology. Strongly associated with roses and flowers, the Queen of Heaven most closely reflects God’s Light and beauty: St. Bernard tells Dante that hers is “the face that is most…

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