The balance between Talent and Virtue

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The Balance Between Talent and Virtue To achieve true immortality in heaven, one must find a balance between using one's God-given talents and leading a virtuous life. Through the first twenty five Cantos, Dante is determined to focus only on his poetry and become the greatest poet of his time. However, he gains an insight (through his conscience) that one must moderate talent by virtue. In other words, he must also live a morally good life along with writing poetry to get to heaven. There are a few small examples of Dante's hubris that sparks the tainted idea that talent is all that matters in life. His first invocation (II. 7-9) calls not only the Muses, but also his “lofty genius” and memory so that its “nobility be shown.” He wants to instill in his readers the fact that they are about to read the greatest poetry. This shows the level of Dante's pride in the story he hasn't even told yet. He adds to this pride when he is inducted into the circle of the great poets in Limbo (IV. 97-102). Conversing with the great poets gives Dante the impression that he automatically rises and meets the reputations of the five other poets. Since pride is one of the seven deadly sins, we can see that Dante's moral journey isn't off to a good start. With this in mind, Dante's discourse with Brunetto Latini in Canto XV seems even more detrimental. However, his conscience catches him at the end of the Canto. Dante is encouraged to keep creating poetry for he is destined to be a great poet as Brunetto tells him (XV. 55-57). Here, Brunetto prophesies that Dante will surpass Lucan and Ovid, which turns out to be true since sinners can see into the future. Brunetto also encourages Dante to keep writing in order to achieve immortality through art and a “second life on earth,” as he describes it. Although Dante is deeply enticed by his mentor's words, he knows

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