Dante's Thomistic Vision: The Commedia

Frank Muller, Western Kentucky University

Document Type Article


Dante's Commedia derives its form and content from the philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas. It is a philosophical poem that allegorically examines medieval moral theory, articulated in Aquinas' Summa Theologiae, in order to morally instruct the medieval layperson. This paper focuses mostly around the capital sin of pride due to its important place throughout the work and its efficacy in illustrating the link between Aquinas and Alighieri. The discussion of the sin involves providing Thomas' definition of pride and its opposite virtue, humility, in comparison with Dante's artistic representations. The overall goal is to present Dante's Commedia as an intricately philosophical work of literature that adopts both the ideas and techniques of medieval syncretism as embodied by Thomas Aquinas.