Purgatory | Study Guide

Dante Alighieri

Download a PDF to print or study offline.

Study Guide
Cite This Study Guide

How to Cite This Study Guide

quotation mark graphic
MLA

Bibliography

Course Hero. "Purgatory Study Guide." Course Hero. 18 Jan. 2018. Web. 19 June 2018. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Purgatory/>.

In text

(Course Hero)

APA

Bibliography

Course Hero. (2018, January 18). Purgatory Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved June 19, 2018, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Purgatory/

In text

(Course Hero, 2018)

Chicago

Bibliography

Course Hero. "Purgatory Study Guide." January 18, 2018. Accessed June 19, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Purgatory/.

Footnote

Course Hero, "Purgatory Study Guide," January 18, 2018, accessed June 19, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Purgatory/.

Purgatory | Canto 30 | Summary

Share
Share

Summary

The participants in the procession from Canto 29 now circle the chariot, singing songs of praise and strewing flowers before it. Through the falling petals Dante spies a woman robed in green. This is Beatrice, and Dante is awestruck at finally seeing her after a decade apart. Trembling, he looks about for Virgil, only to find his guide has disappeared. Beatrice addresses Dante and forces him to a final reckoning of his sins. After her death, she says, Dante "turned his steps to paths that were not true," lapsing into moral and intellectual error. Thus, Beatrice was moved to intercede for him before God and ordain his journey through Hell and Purgatory. This accomplished, Dante can move on to the true Paradise—but only after he has paid the "tax of penitence" by hating his sins.

Analysis

Beatrice's treatment of Dante might sound a bit harsh. After all, hasn't he already gone through Hell and Purgatory just to be here? Well, not quite. Dante has indeed visited those places and witnessed what they contain. He has even borne a tangible mark of his own sinfulness in the form of the seven Ps on his brow. However, he hasn't actually undergone the penitential torments of Purgatory, and his sojourn on the mountain has lasted only a few days—not the centuries experienced by Statius. What he saw while climbing Mount Purgatory were others' purgations and punishments, held up as cautionary examples. He didn't carry the heavy weights of pride or suffer the starvation of gluttony, except vicariously. Thus, Dante must still turn inward and rid himself of his own sins in sorrow and remorse before he is fit to enter Heaven, even as a visitor. Given his overwhelming love for Beatrice, it makes sense for this soul-searching to take place in her presence. Dante may be able to hide his sins from himself, but Beatrice's awareness of his failings leaves no room for self-deception.

Cite This Study Guide

information icon Have study documents to share about Purgatory? Upload them to earn free Course Hero access!

Ask a homework question - tutors are online