The Divine Comedy of Virgil and Kevin

The Divine Comedy of Virgil and Kevin

“You were the lamp that led me from that night/You led me forth to drink Parnassian water/then on the road to God you shed your light.”
—Statius to Virgil, Purgatorio 22.64-65

Written by Dante Aligheri in the 14th Century, The Divine Comedy is an epic poem considered to be one of the most defining pieces of literature about our ideas of hell and the underworld. Drawing heavily from the medieval Christian philosophies and theology of Thomas Aquinas’s Summa Theologica, the poem is divided into three sections, which are the three realms of the dead—hell, purgatory, and paradise. In the epic, Dante is guided through the various circles of hell and purgatory before reaching paradise. He has a wise guide throughout the journey. That guide’s name was...Virgil. Of course, it’s no coincidence that this is the name of the man who has offered to guide Kevin into the realms of death to do battle with his “most powerful adversary.” I would suggest that Virgil’s suicide was not a devious act of narcissism but that he killed himself to act as Kevin’s guide to the world that awaited him.

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