Monday, February 21, 2011

Purgatorio by Dante Aligheri


Fresh from the depths of hell, Dante and Virgil must prepare their ascent into heaven, beginning at the bottom of Mount Purgatorio on Easter morning, but Dante must first wash away his "uncleanliness" from the Inferno. As a ship approaches, Dante must kneel and fold his hands because an angel guides the ship. While the pair are entering Ante-Purgatory, Dante notices he has a shadow while Virgil does not. Virgil simply says it is one of God's phenomena. The illegitimate son of Fredrick II, Manfred, approaches Dante to tell Manfred's daughter his sins were absolved even though he did not receive proper burial; that even repenting late in one's life can buy a path to heaven. As they reach the First Spur, Virgil explains this is where those who are late repenters must stay because of their negligence and Purgatorio is on the opposite hemisphere of Jerusalem (back then there was only one hemisphere) so the sun is always at Dante's left. Mount Purgatorio is where spirits who have been released from their bodies must stay to wait for their chance at heaven. Dante and Virgil reach the Valley of the Rulers, where kings have been placed, and his first day comes to an end; leaving only six more days to complete the ascent. As Dante dreams, the angel St. Lucia carries him to the Purgatory from the Valley of the Rulers and then must pass through seven levels of the mountain. The First Terrace (farthest from heaven) belongs to the Prideful. One spirit explains he regrets his unwarranted pride because then he would not have witnessed the downfall of his people. Great acts of humilty are the only way to make it past the First Terrace. Those who are Envious claim the Second Terrace and suffer with their eyes sewn shut so they cannot cry. As an angel blinds Dante, the pair approach the Third Terrace, where the Wrathful remain. Dante learns the cause of human corruption: men do not take responsibility for their actions but that also men are born inexperienced and innocent, but also need guidance from their leaders. The Fourth Terrace consists of the Slothful. Virgil explains to Dante during the night that all actions, good and evil, stems from some form of love. The Fifth Terrace is then made up of the Avaricious (Greedy) and the Prodigal (wasteful extravagance). Dante feels frequent earthquakes now, which represents spirits entering Heaven. The Sixth Terrace is then reached, also known as home of the Gluttons. These spirits suffer by living in Limbo without food or water. Virgil reveals Antigone and Ismene are kept in the Fourth Terrace. The final Terrace is approached where those who are Lustful reside. Virgil explains, at death the sould either goes to the entrance of the Prugatorio or the Inferno, but the soul retains its intellect, memory, and will. Dante and Virgil cross a river of fire and then dante becomes his own guide. Dante reaches Earthly Paradise and a chariot approaches. Beatrice rides with the chariot and Dante begins to cry but she criticizes him that he did not follow God's plan after death. Beatrice says she had to take Dante on this journey to see the torture and torment of lost souls for himself. Dante then finally must wash away his sins and dismiss his shame and fear to finally reach Paradise.


1. If Dante's works of literature were taken as seriously as the bible, do you think Purgatorio would be considered the way into heaven?


2. Do you believe in Virgil's explanation that all actions, good and evil, have stemed from the roots of love?


3. Does one's spirit contol one's intellect, memory, and will? Does the soul move onto the afterlife?

8 comments:

MaryL11-12 said...

To answer the third question:
I don't think one's spirit controls your intellect and memory, but I do think it at least has an influence on one's will. I think that your experiences in your life and the genes you have are what control intellect and memory. I think that there is some sort of afterlife, whether it's a kind of purgatory or a heaven or something like reincarnation, I don't really know. But yes I do believe that the soul moves into some kind of an afterlife.

Deanna K 5-6 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Deanna K 5-6 said...

1. If people read Dante's works as serious as the bible, Purgatorio would obviously be considered another way to heaven. I'm sure some people would agree and some disagree, since the bible gives an opposing view, but yes, some people would believe it.

2. No, I disagree with Virgil. Not every single action has to do with love. Possibly a majority, but definitely not all actions.

3. There is no way to answer this question. Seeing as there is no absolute proof to heaven, hell, reincarnation, eternal sleep, and so on, it is only opinion whether the soul moves onto afterlife or if there actually is an afterlife. This is the same for spirit. Does spirit even exist to possibly even control these things? It is all opinion.

Dana G. 13-14 said...

#2. I think all his actions are out of love. They may be misunturpreting them, but he means well.

Mike B 13-14 said...

Awnsering question number three there is no proof of heaven or an after life so it is ones opinion. I believe that the spirit controls these things but others could think diffrently. I belive your soal do move to the after life and that death isnt the end.

Natalie S Mods 5-6 said...

2)I think that all actions are stemmed from love. Most people usually act out of feeling. The feeling that people act on is how they feel about the thing or person they are acting on. Some people do good things for love and others will do evil things for love.

3)This is a tough question to answer because it brings into play the role of religion and faith. In my personal opinion, I do not know if the soul controls the intellect, memory, and will. I also am not sure if there is an afterlife. I think that there is a possibility of an afterlife but it is certainly not guaranteed.

Allie H 11-12 said...

Answering question number 3, I do believe one's spirit controls one's intellect, memory, and will. Our spirits define the person who we are. It shows how strong we are and how confident our souls are. I do believe that the soul moves onto the afterlife because that gives me hope that my spirit will live on. Although my body may be dead, my soul will live on forever among other exciting souls.

Mrs. Sherwood said...

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