Structure in Multiple Layers of Three to Symbolize the Trinity:
Three Guides: 1. Virgil, symbol of human reason & poetry, through Inferno & Purgatorio 2. Beatrice, his “pure” human love, through most of Paradiso 3. St. Bernard de Clairvaux, a 12th century contemplative monk
Written in vernacular Italian in terza rima (aba, bcb, cdc, etc.)
33 cantos in each canticle (Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso), plus one in the beginning as an introduction = 100.
Nine circles of Hell + anteroom = 10; seven levels of purgatory plus three ante-terraces = 10; nine heavenly spheres + empyrean = 10.
Three beasts block his path: Leopard, Lion, and She-Wolf.