Paradiso

In spite of all the sheer effort put behind it, Dante’s
Paradiso is not easy to enjoy. It is an alliance
between difficulty and controversy. It is a narration of
Dante’s so called visit to heaven, which seems
tangible to no one but him. He slowly gives us his
perceived account while inserting an archive of
philosophical tidbits, which often divert the reader’s
attention from the supposed plot.

Dante claims himself gifted and says that all his said
experiences are ones that he encountered first-hand.
And so the reader is assumed to believe that the
author is not in a make-believe world and his
arguments with heavenly beings are actually
marvelous adventures. The theme is not relevant at
all to the present, as scholars today would say that
his ideas are primitive and unsubstantial. The only
thing applicable to today be the fact that it is based
on the timeless issue: the afterlife. And as he inserts
his personal views in life, he does it in an
authoritative method as his heavenly friends explain
them to him. Now if the reader assumes this is all
make-believe, it is tiresome to go on as the book is
direly detailed. On the other hand, if the reader
believes Dante’s account, then I am afraid he is very
misled. As many biblical verses are inserted in the
text, it is quite bothersome that his explanations and
fabulous stories take on a less dogmatic direction. It
doesn’t seem right to quote religion to serve both
misinterpreted purposes and claims to a divine
philosophy. This dissenting view is the only social
impact I can make out of the book. As I read on the
translated verses looking for some conflict or climax,
I reached neither. It just seems as if this popularly
supposed story is intended to be educational just like
a textbook. Nevertheless, it is not hard to see why
Paradiso was dubbed a masterpiece. If the title of
"masterpiece" is labeled upon the works of great
worth, I am afraid entertainment value is not
something distinguishable in this case even if there
is an undoubtedly enormous amount of effort, skill,
and thought that was invested in it. All the lines rhyme
in pairs, and are written in deep Spanish. A rhyme
scheme is followed and even literary formality is
observed. Dante is obviously intellectual, as his work
shows. It boasts of great depth and cerebral
capacity. Although more factual than proverbial, this
display of intelligence clearly shows that Paradiso
has a high prerequisite for understanding. His words
and narration appeal to the emotions as well, as
detailed work almost regularly accomplishes. He
describes his feelings of awe, curiosity, and
incapability as a mortal to comprehend the ways of
the divine in words so deep, so brief, and yet so filled
with his emotional intent. Why all of these good traits
still fail to interest the reader is possibly the effect of
the fact that Paradiso is written to contain Dante’s
thoughts and meaning and not ours. And so, as with
most other things, it is the creator who appreciates
his fruit the most.

I may be counted among those who appreciate only
the effort, but not the fruit. I find Paradiso to be a thick
pulp of philosophical fragments. It is a narrative
nothing and yet has room for controversy. It has all
the elements of a commendable story without a
commendable story line. I would not recommend it to
anyone except those who have a lot of time on their
hands, as I deduce it to be a waste of time.

Category: Book Reports