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Paradise | Characters

Character Description
Dante Dante Alighieri is both the author and the protagonist of the Divine Comedy. In Paradise Dante imagines himself voyaging through Heaven and conferring with the various souls who dwell there. Read More
Beatrice Beatrice is the saintly lady who both inspires and enables Dante's voyage through Heaven. In Paradise she regards Dante with a sisterly or even maternal kind of affection, and this concern for Dante idealizes their (limited) earthly relationship into a sustaining spiritual bond. Read More
Adam Adam is, according to the book of Genesis, the first human being to have walked Earth and the forefather of all the living. He appears in Cantos 26 and 27, where he discusses with Dante the earliest age of human history.
Thomas Aquinas Saint Thomas Aquinas, the most famous of medieval Christian theologians, resides in the fourth level of Heaven (the sun). A Dominican friar during life, he laments the decline of his order in Dante's time.
Benedict Saint Benedict is an early Christian mystic who appears in the seventh level of Heaven (Saturn). His principles for monastic life, the Rule of Saint Benedict, are influential in the West.
Bernard Saint Bernard of Clairvaux greets Dante in the Empyrean, the 10th and highest level of Heaven. As a saint he is best known for his devotion to the Virgin Mary.
Bonaventure Saint Bonaventure is a 13th-century monk and Franciscan friar whom Dante meets in the fourth sphere of Heaven (the sun). He tells Dante the story of Saint Dominic and, like many figures in Paradise, complains of the modern decline in Church discipline.
Cacciaguida Cacciaguida is a 12th-century Florentine nobleman and crusader, though he is more notable as Dante's great-great-grandfather. He is the main speaker in the fifth circle of Heaven (Mars), which is devoted to souls of the courageous.
Constance Constance of Sicily appears briefly in the first level of Heaven (the moon). She is placed there for having led a virtuous life but violating a religious vow.
Cunizza Cunizza da Romano is a 13th-century Italian noblewoman whom Dante encounters in the third level of Heaven (Venus). She readily forgives herself for being led astray by her passions during life.
Peter Damian Saint Peter Damian is an 11th-century monk notable for his strict self-denial and efforts to reform the Church. Dante meets him in the seventh sphere of Heaven (i.e., Saturn), where the contemplatives dwell.
Folco Folco of Marseilles is a monk and former troubadour who greets Dante in the Heaven of Venus (i.e., the third heaven). Like other occupants of this sphere, he recognizes the foolishness of being swayed by lustful desires. However, he has long since repented of his sins and is now untroubled by his past actions.
Gabriel Gabriel is the archangel who, in the Gospels, announced the Incarnation to the Virgin Mary. In Paradise he appears among the Fixed Stars, singing Mary's praises.
James Saint James the Greater was one of the apostles. In medieval times his burial site in Galicia was one of the foremost pilgrimage sites. He examines Dante in the virtue of hope in Canto 25.
John Saint John the Evangelist, writer of the eponymous Gospel, is joined by Dante with John the Apostle. This saint questions Dante about the virtue of love (also known as charity) in Canto 26.
Justice Eagle The so-called Justice Eagle is the huge eagle shape formed from the souls in the sixth sphere of Heaven (Jupiter). These souls, rulers renowned for their justness, address Dante as a chorus rather than as individuals.
Justinian The Byzantine emperor Justinian I greets Dante in the second level of Heaven (Mercury). A Christian, Justinian was mainly known for his attempt to reclaim the western Roman Empire, which had fallen at the end of the 5th century.
Charles Martel Charles Martel of Anjou (Carlo in Dante's Italian) is a European prince whose personal connection to Dante remains obscure. The heir to the kingdoms of Naples and Hungary, he appears in the third level of Heaven (Venus).
Peter Saint Peter was one of the apostles and is traditionally regarded as the gatekeeper of Heaven. In Canto 24, he questions Dante about the virtue of faith.
Piccarda Piccarda Donati is one of the souls occupying the first level of Heaven (the moon). In life she was the sister of Dante's friend Forese Donati. She is forced to leave her convent to marry and dies shortly thereafter. Her connection with love links her back to Francesca in Inferno.
Solomon King Solomon, proclaimed in the Hebrew scriptures as the wisest of rulers, makes an appearance in the fourth sphere of Heaven (the sun). He explains to Dante some aspects of bodily resurrection and the Last Judgment.
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