The poem beings on the day before Good Friday in the year 1300, whent he narratorm, Dante himself, and Virgil begin their journey through the underworld, by passing through the very gates of Hell, which bear the inscription: 'All hope abandon, ye who enter here.' A horrendous journey follows until having toured all the 'departments' of Hell they return to earth on Easter Sunday. In the second and third volumes of the Divine Comedy Beatrice takes over as a guide from Virgil because he was a pagan so could not enter Paradise. In real life Beatrice was Dante's unrequited love. He spoke to her just once throughout the thirteen years of his obssessional fantasy affair. She died, aged only twenty-four, and Dante was devastated with grief. He remained devoted to the memory of Beatrice for the rest of his life and she was the principal inspiration for all his poetical work.