The semiotic theory of Charles Sanders Peirce offers the three basic sign modalities; symbol, icon, and index. Here index means a sign related to its referent, pointing to object-things in the context in which they occur. This paper aims to re-highlight Dante’s poetic language with reference to the indexicality, which differs from the past traditonial approaches made mainly by relying on symbolism and iconicity to say according to Peirce’s trichotomy. This work allows us to focus on Dante’s poetic language from its materiality based on its immediate relationship with the object-things.
This work is meaningful in that Dante’s writings have been recognized as an ‘autobiographical allegory’; that is, this work leads us to shed more light on the ‘autobiographic’, aspect rather than ‘allegory’ in his language. We need to trace the ways that his poetic language is overwhelmingly formed by his immediate co-sensorial contact with the object-things, which is inevitably linked to his tireless efforts to include the transcendental being in his non-transcendental language. I am investigating these aspects by the textual analysis of the Comedy in terms of woods, darkness, star, and sky. In all I aim to show Dante as an excellent observer of our natural world rather than an imaginative writer of the divine world. He never averted his eyes from the existence of object-thing; rather he always attempted to build his poetic language by making himself face to the object-things. The language to face to the object-things does not betray them; in this way it is possible for us to evaluate that his language reaches the object-things whereby conveys them to the reader successfully. This is the fundamental condition for Dante to relate himself with the divine as well as human worlds.