As Beatrice guided Dante into Heaven??Originally Posted by scoundrel
It's serendipitous that you bring this up, Scoundrel, because I'm thinking about Dante Alighieri as a proto-Malcontent: exiled, unorthodox, a minority of one inveighing against the religious norms and political status quo. Why not? We have always seen the strong connection between the TS and La Commedia Divina di Dante.
If Edward was the Malcontent always standing outside the charmed circle, he metamorphoses into the hero at the center, the successful defender staving off disaster. Not only does he NOT destroy Bella, he helps SAVE her, their family, and their community. The very fact that he is the reason Bella becomes a vampire--the only one impervious to the Volturi's best weapons--means he has ensured the extended preservation of the Cullen Clan. (Don't you think it was a matter of time before Aro manufactured a cause to act against them, in his long game to acquire Alice? Where would the family find themselves, without Bella's shield?).
Edward becomes an agent of his own salvation when he surrenders to Bella. Once he admits he can't resist her pull, it initiates all the events that lead him, like Dante, out of Hell and through Purgatory, until he finally finds his Heaven.
~Edward was already in his own Hell before Bella moved to Forks, the Lion in the Inferno, never hoping to gaze at the sun behind the mountain.
~Enter Bella in TW, his Virgil who makes him look at the sun before they descend into the Underworld, where he expects judgment for his actions.He already condemns himself for the three Vices from which all sins derive: Incontinent Spirit, Fraud, and Violence.
~After surviving the lessons there, he follows his conscience in NM to his personal Mt. Purgatorio, where motive, even more than action, is the besetting sin.* (Incidentally, Dante placed Mt. Purgatorio at the far southern end of the earth....). Continuing the process of Purgatory, penance occurs in EC as Edward learns to submit to Absolute Will (Fate/God/Destiny) and its design for him and Bella.
~Then, finally, following Bella's lead, he enters Paradise where he is called on to display to the utmost the cardinal virtues (Temperance, Prudence, Fortitude, Justice); passing the ultimate test, he is rewarded in the embrace of Faith, Hope, and Perfect Love.
*Notice how SM "fractures the fairy tale" here. She makes motive the mitigator rather than the actual sin. This comparison with The Divine Comedy wouldn't work without her trademark fractures!