The World of Dante
The World of Dante MLLL 3303
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Date Created: 10/26/15
Purgatorio section 1 quotTo course across more kindly waters now my talent39s little vessel lifts her sails leaving behind herself a sea so cruel and what I sing will be that second kingdom in which the human soul is cleansed of sin becoming worthy of ascent to Heavenquot Thus Dante opens his journey into Purgatory where he will use kinder words to describe the ascent To prepare himself Dante calls upon the Muses including Calliope the Muse of poetry Dante and Virgil arrive at the island where the Mountain of Purgatory stands on Easter morning Dante notices a constellation of four stars that have not been seen b humans since Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden of Eden The guardian of the region emerges and demands to know how Dante escaped Hell Virgil explains that a lady in Heaven asked him to save Dante39s soul before it is lost by guiding Dante through Hell Virgil was also directed to show Dante how the souls under Cato39s charge are purged and prepared for Heaven Cato consents to the journey and allows the poets to pass Before they can pass however Dante must wash the dirt from Hell off of his face and he must pluck a rush from the shore to gird himself After Dante performs these rituals the poets set off to find the path up the Mountain Purgatorio section 2 As the sun rises on Purgatory Dante spies a ship sailing across the sea toward the island at a great rate Virgil instructs Dante to kneel and fold his hands because it is an angel that guides the boat and propels it with its wings The brightness ofthe angel39s face blinds Dante As the ship approaches Dante hears the voices of hundreds of spirits aboard the boat singing a psalm When the spirits land on the island they ask Dante and Virgil for directions to the path Virgil explains that they too are new arrivals and the s irits realize that Dante is still alive because they can see him breathing Meanwhile a spirit recognizes Dante Dante tries to embrace Casella three times but because she is a spirit she has no mass and Dante39s arms close around air Casella put some of Dante39s poems to music so Dante asks her to sing a song for him The other spirits gather around to listen to the sweet song but Cato ends the diversion by reminding everyone that their mission to climb the mountain is urgent The spirits disperse and begin theirjourney Purgatorio section 3 When the travelers enter AntePurgatory Dante suffers a moment of fear when he notices that he is the only one who casts a shadow Virgil explains that he casts a shadow because he is alive Many great thinkers have tried to understand why spirits can be seen but do not have mass or cast shadows Virgil explains that this phenomenon is one of God39s mysteries and is beyond human comprehension Virgil then explains the same phenomenon to a group of approaching spirits that are shocked to see Dante39s shadow One ofthe spirits in the group approaches Dante This spirit belongs to llwl the illegitimate son of Fredrick ll Manfred begs Dante to tell his daughter that he repented before he died and that he regrets that his body did not get a proper burial Manfred explains to Dante that even people who repent at the last minute are granted salvation but they must stay in Purgatory thirty times as long as the length oftheir rebellion against the Church Manfred hopes that his daughter39s prayers will take some time off of his stay in Purgatory Purgatorio section 4 Dante39s conversation with Manfred has made Dante lose track of time He uses this incident to contradict the notion of the plurality of souls doctrine Virgil and Dante come to a cleft in the rocks where they begin their climb toward the summit Dante finds the climb through the First Spur where the LateRepentant due to negligence dwell extremely difficult and must stop at a ledge to rest While they rest Dante notices that although they face the sun the sun appears on his left Virgil explains that Purgatory stands on the opposite hemisphere from Jerusalem and since scientists believed that the world only had one hemisphere this geography made perfect sense to Dante As the two begin their ascent once again Virgil comforts Dante by telling him that the climb will become increasingly easier as they approach the summit As they climb Dante encounters one of his friends Belaqua whose sarcastic taunting prompts Dante to tell his friend that he will no longer grieve for him Virgil urges his pupil to hurry on Purgatorio section 5 Dante and Virgil move to the Second Spur where the LateRepentant who died by violence spend their time in Purgatory As they walk a large group of spirits approach them singing a psalm Once they realize that Dante is alive they beg him to send news to their loved ones on Earth These spirits did not receive the sacrament because they died by violence so prayers from their friends and families will make their time in Puratory shorter Various spirits from this group including Jacopo del Cassero and la ell their tales of death in battle Buonconte reveals that an angel and a demon fought over his soul after he died but the angel finally took possession of him because of a little tear that appeared in his eye Finally the spirit belonging to La Pia a lady from Siena asks Dante to remember her when he returns to Earth Purgatorio section 6 Dante compares his situation in Purgatory to that of a gambler who has won 39When dicing39s done and players separate the loser39s left alone disconsolaterehearsing what he39d thrown he sadly learns all of the crowd surrounds the one who wonone goes in front and one tugs at his back and at his side one asks to be rememberedquot Nearly every spirit that he meets urges Dante to ask for prayers on its behalf Virgil once wrote that prayers from loved ones do not help souls in Purgatory Dante questions him on this opinion and Virgil explains that the passage that he wrote referred to a pagan who would not be helped by prayers Christians do however leave Purgatory earlier when God39s heard prayers on their behalf Virgil also admits though that Beatrice will give him the final answers to all of his questions so Dante is eager to continue theirjourney Virgil and Dante encounter a 5 from Mantua along their path Virgil who is also a Mantuan embraces Sordello Dante uses this opportunity to illustrate how people from the same city used to stay connected while people today act like strangers to each other Dante delivers a scorching invective against the people of Italy then he turns his anger to the Florentines who he believes have become especially bad neighbors Purgatorio section 7 The scene returns to Virgil and Sordello fellow Mantuans Sordello asks Virgil to identify himself Struck with awe that he has encountered the great poet Sordello bows down and exclaims that Virgil has brought great honor to the city of Mantua Sordello wonders where Virgil now lives Virgil explains that he dwells with other virtuous pagans who practiced the cardinal virtues but did not practice the three holy virtues Finally Virgil once again asks Sordello for directions up the mountain Sordello leads the travelers to a beautiful valley filled with sweet flowers Sordello points out some of the notable figures that dwell in this valley Henry of Navarre Peter III of Aragon and Charles of Anjou These shades give the valley its name Valley ofthe Rulers The spirits are consigned to this spot because they too neglected to repent Dante uses this example to show that one39s character is not necessarily noble even when one comes from a noble line of birthan issue hotly debated during Dante39s time Purgatorio section 8 Darkness falls on the Valley ofthe Rulers The spirits begin to sing an evening devotion quotTe lucis antequot Two angels take posts in the Valley to stand guard for the night Although Dante cannot see their faces because they are so bright he sees that the angels hold flaming swords and that their wings are green Dante and Virgil take spots among the spirits for the night One spirit Nino Visconti recognizes Dante and begs him to ask his daughter to pray for him because his wife no longer cares about him Dante notices that three twinkling stars overhead have replaced the constellation of four that he had seen at dawn Sordello spots a serpent snaking through the grass but the sound of angels wings like those of a falcon scare the serpent away Visconti39s companion Conrad Malaspina asks Dante for news from his native land Val di Magra Although Dante has never been to this place he has heard of it because its rulers are well known Conrad prophesies that Dante will visit Val di Magra before quotthe sun has rested seven timesquot Purgatorio section 9 As Dante sleeps in the Valley of the Rulers he dreams of an eagle plucking him from Mount lda He and the eagle soar toward the sun and as they catch fire Dante awakens from his dream Virgil comforts his startled friend by explaining that while he slept St Lucia carried him up the steep mountain to the gates of Purgatory until now they had been in AntePurgatory An angel bearing a sword guards the gates of Purgatory Once the angel hears that Dante travels by divine design he bids the poet to him Dante climbs three gleaming stairs white marble dark purple bloodred porphyry The angel marks seven P39s with his sword on Dante39s forehead Each P represents a level of Purgatory and will be removed as Dante passes each level The angel opens the gates of Purgatory with a silver and a gold key and warns the poets to never look back As they enter Dante hears beautiful voices singing quot Te Deum laudamusquot Purgatorio section 10 Dante and Virgil make a difficult climb up a zigzag path to the First Terrace where the Prideful dwell Beautiful carvings of scenes depicting acts of humility adorn the marble cliff adjacent to the First Terrace The scenes include the Annunciation King David dancing before the Ark and a woman begging Emperor Trajan to avenge her son39s death A sorrowful group of spirits approaches the poets Hunched low to the ground by huge rocks slung about their shoulders these spirits must contemplate their pride until they have served their appropriate penance Dante berates these souls by saying quot0 Christians arrogant exhausted wretched whose intellects are sick and cannot see who place your confidence in backward steps do you not know that we are worms and born to form the angelic butterfly that soars without defenses to confront His judgmentquot Purgatorio section 11 The Prideful spirits recite a long version of the Lord39s Prayer Moved by their sincere solemnity Dante believes that the living ought to help these spirits with their prayers Virgil asks for directions and one shade Omberto Aldobrandeschi responds Omberto describes how his unwarranted pride of ancestry caused the downfall of his kinsman and his own death Another spirit belonging to the artist Oderisi of Gubbio explains how the pride he took in his talents landed him on this Terrace in Purgatory Oderisi claims that artists such as him should not strive for fame because their fame is so transientas an example he notes how Giotto surpassed Cimabue Oderisi identifies one of his companions the leader Salvani from Siena Surprised to see that Salvani bypassed a lengthy stay in AntePurgatory Dante asks how Salvani came to the Terrace so quickly Oderisi explains that Salvani performed a momentous act of humility at the height of his power when he begged in the streets to get money for the ransom of a friend Salvani39s quick ascent into Purgatory shows that great acts of humility can mitigate late repentance Purgatorio section 12 Still on the First Terrace Virgil urges Dante to hurry because he has been keeping pace with Oderisi who walks stooped low to the ground Virgil also points out the scenes of pride carved into the ground so that the stooped spirits will contemplate the consequences of pride as they walk The first scene depicts Satan39s fall from Heaven Twelve scenes alternating between Biblical and classical mythology follow Briareus the Giants Nimrod Niobe Saul Arachne Rehoboam Eriphyle Sennacherib Cyrus Holofernes and Troy As Dante and Virgil begin their ascent from the First Terrace an angel brushes Dante39s forehead with its wing Dante finds the climb out of the Terrace easy and Virgil tells him that because the angel erased one of the P39s from Dante39s brow the climb has become easier Dante compares the stairway that he and Virgil now mount with the stairway that leads to the church of San Miniato on the hilltop overlooking Florence Purgatorio section 13 Dante and Virgil emerge on the Second Terrace where the Envious serve their penance in Purgatory Although the ledge seems deserted Dante hears voices singing the praises of fraternal lovethe opposite of envy The first voice sings quotVinum non habentquot the words of Mary39s appeal to Christ when the wine ran out at the wedding feast in Cana The second voice quotI am Orestesquot the words Pylades said to pretend to be his friend so that he rather than the real Orestes would be killed The third voice quotLove those by whom you have been hurtquot Virgil directs Dante39s attention to a group of spirits seated against the wall Nearly indistinguishable from the rock these spirits wear haircloth cloaks that are the same color as the rocks and lean against each other like beggars Envious souls these shades spend their time in Purgatory weeping because their eyes are sewn shut Dante meets Sapia a woman from Siena who took pleasure in the misfortunes of others Sapia tells her story and asks Dante to pray for her when he returns to Earth Purgatorio section 14 Curious about his conversation with Sapia two other spirits Guido del Duca and Rinieri da Calboli approach Dante and ask him who he is and where he is from Dante responds that he is from a town on the banks ofthe river that begins in Mount Falterona Guido realizes that Dante speaks of the river Arno and that Dante hasn39t mentioned it by name because he is ashamed of his hometown The shade responds by delivering a blistering speech against the people that live along the Arno Guido compares the people from the upper regions of the Arno to the lower regions as follows hogs curs dogs and wolves Guido prophesies that his grandson will someday slaughter the people that live in the region of wolves Guido reveals that in life he was envious of anyone who appeared to be happy Finally Guido laments the moral downfall of his Rinieri39s descendants and the moral degradation of the Romagna region Moving away from these envious spirits Dante hears voices singing examples of envy Virgil instructs Dante that these words should remind men of the glories of Heaven but instead Satan tempts humans to think only of life on Earth Purgatorio section 15 A strong light forces Dante to cover his face The light however persists and Virgil reminds Dante that his mortal senses are powerless against the approach of an angel The angel arrives and directs the travelers to the next terrace where the Wrathful reside As the poets leave the Envious they hear the Fifth Beatitude quotBeati misericordesquot Blessed are the merciful Dante asks Virgil to explain this remark made by Guido when they were on the last terrace quotSharing cannot have a partquot Virgil explains that the value of material possessions decrease with sharing while the value of spiritual possessions increases with sharingGod pours out more love to everyone as more souls love Him A fuller explanation Virgil concludes will come from Beatrice As they reach the next terrace Dante experiences several ecstatic visions in which he sees examples of virtue opposite the sin of wrath In the first vision Dante sees a mother treating her son gently after she finds him amidst a crowded temple In the second vision Dante sees a mother beg her husband to punish a boy who has embraced their daughter The father calms his wife by saying 39What shall we do to one who39d injured us if one who loves us earns our condemnationquot In his third vision Dante sees a crowd stoning a man and shouting quotKillquot As the victim falls dead to the ground he prays to God to forgive his attackers Dante regains consciousness after the visions and Virgil reminds him that these visions are meant to deter him from wrath As the travelers eagerly continue their journey a smoky cloud emerges before them Purgatorio section 16 The cloud of smoke burns Dante39s eyes and irritates his skin Although Dante cannot see anything in the murky smoke he can hear the Wrathful souls asking for forgiveness an ra in to God for peace by chanting quotAngnus Deiquot Hearing Dante and Virgil in conversation the spirit of v 7 approaches and consents to guide the poets along this terrace Dante asks Marco about the cause of human corruption quotThe world indeed has been stripped utterly of every virtue as you said to me it cloaksand is cloaked byperversity Some place the cause in Heaven some below but I beseech you to define the cause that seeing it I may show it to othersquot Marco responds that while some corruption can be blamed on the stars men must take responsibility for their actions Men understand good and evil and have the free will to choose their path in life Thus men must be held accountable for both their good and bad deeds Marco explains that men born innocent and inexperienced need guidance from their rulers through laws Rome once had two rulersone that governed spiritual life while the other governed political life Marco blames the present state of moral decay in Italy on the fact that only one ruler governs both spheres of life Marco names three men who embody examples of ancient virtue Currado da Palazzo Gherardo and Guido da Castello Purgatorio section 17 The poets emerge from the smoky cloud near sunset Again Dante receives visions of wrath Procne who killed her son the execution of Haman and Lavinia who discovered the body of her mother who had hanged herself After the visions pass an angel beckons Dante to mount the stairs to the Fourth Terrace where the Slothful reside The angel brushes another Pfrom Dante39s forehead As Dante climbs the stairs he hears the Seventh Beatitude quotBeati pacificiquot Blessed are the peacemakers Night has fallen when the travelers reach the next level so the two rest To pass the time Virgil outlines the design of Purgatory Virgil explains that all action good and evil stems from some form of love There are two forms of love instinctual love and chosen love love that stems from one39s mind Natural instinctual love is perfect in the eyes of God but chosen love emerges from man39s free will and is therefore prone to error Love that aims to hurt others takes form in pride envy and wraththe sins found on the first three terraces Love directed toward a worthy end but with insufficient zeal sloth is punished on the Fourth Terrace The three upper terraces punish sinners who loved earthly objects excessively Virgil does not reveal the sins punished on the three upper terraces Purgatorio section 18 Virgil continues his discussion of love and free will quotThe soul which is created quick to love responds to everything that pleases just as soon as beauty wakens it to actThen just as flames ascend because the form of fire was fashioned to fly upward toward the stuff of its own sphere where it lasts longest so does the soul when seized move into longing a motion ofthe spirit never resting till the beloved thing has made itjoyousquot However while instinctual love is natural like the flames of a fire men exert free will Free will can pervert natural love and men are judged by their acts of free will Virgil states quotNow that all other longings may conform to this first will instinctual love there is in you inborn the power that counsels free will keeper ofthe threshold of your assent this principle on which your merit may be judged for it garners and winnows good and evil longingsquot As Virgil concludes his explanation the poets hear a group of spirits approach In great haste the spirits recite examples of zeal the opposite of their own sin sloth as they hurry by Virgil asks the souls for directions to the next terrace as Dante falls asleep Purgatorio section 19 In a dream Dante encounters a n that sings to him sweetly and tries to tempt him as she tempted Ulysses Virgil rips the clothes off of the Siren to expose her ugliness and corruption Startled Dante awakens from his dream as an angel approaches to lead the poets to the next level The angel pronounces the Third Beatitude quotQui lugentquot Blessed are those who mourn As they climb to the next plain Virgil explains to Dante that the Siren caused the sins of those who reside above on the mountain To guard against the Siren39s seductions men must quotfasten their eyes upon the lure that39s spun by the eternal Kingquot men must keep their eyes on Heaven On the Fifth Terracereserved for the Avaricious and the Prodigal Dante finds numerous spirits lying face down on the ground singing quotAdhesit pavimento anima meaquot My soul has adhered to the ground Dante questions a nearby spirit who explains that he was avaricious he loved earthly possessions until he became a pope Since he did not turn his eyes toward Heaven until late in life he must spend his time in Purgatory groveling for penance face down in the dirt Dante bows out of respect for this former pope but the spirit admonishes him to stand because in the spirit world everyone is an equal servant of God Purgatorio section 20 Dante and Virgil stay close to the wall as they move along this terrace because so many souls crowd the ground Dante calls avarice a quotshewolfquot which has claimed the most souls of any sin Dante hears a voice citing the poverty of Mary as an example of virtue opposite avarice The voice continues by citing two more examples Fabricius a Roman counsel who rejected a bribe and St Nicholas who saved his sisters from degradation by earning dowries for them Dante finds the spirit whose voice he just heard and learns that it belongs to Hugh Capet the founder of a grand French dynasty In a long and specific list of the crimes committed by French royalty Capet denounces the sins of his children and kinsmen and prophesies future treachery Capet tells Dante that the penitents on this ledge recite examples of poverty and generosity during the day and decry examples of avarice during the night Capet gives several examples of Avarice Pygmalion Midas and Heliodorus As the poets leave Capet Dante feels a tremendous earthquake The spirits cry quotGloria in excelsis Deoquot then continue their recitals with more zeal than before Purgatorio section 21 Still on the Fifth Terrace Dante dwells on the source of the earthquake that he just experienced A spirit approaches the travelers from behind and demands to know whey Dante has come to Purgatory Virgil explains that theirjourney was designed in Heaven and that although he is consigned to Limbo Virgil must act as Dante39s guide In response to Dante39s query about the earthquake the spirit explains that Purgatory quakes every time a spirit completes its penance and rises to Heaven Each time this happens the remaining spirits praise the Lord The spirit calling himself 5 39 that the last quake signaled his own deliverance from Purgatory Without recognizing Virgil standing before him Statius remarks that his inspiration in life was the great poet Dante reveals the name of his guide and Statius bows down before Virgil in great reverence and awe Purgatorio section 22 After brushing another Pfrom Dante39s forehead an angel directs the poets to the next level As they move toward the Sixth Terrace where the Gluttonous dwell Virgil and Statius discuss the Aeneid Statius admits that he was so moved by this passage in Virgil39s epic poem that he became prodigal 39Why cannot you 0 holy hunger for gold restrain the appetite of mortalsquot Opposite sins prodigality and avarice are punished in the same circle of both Hell and Purgatory Virgil asks Statius how he became a Christian Again Statius reveals that a passage in one of Virgil39s poems that prophesized the coming of a new faith led Statius to his religion However Statius kept his conversion to Christianity a secret and had to repent for his sloth as well Virgil names Roman and Greek poets who reside with him in Limbo Plautus Terrence Antigont and lsmene As the travelers reach the Sixth Terrace Dante encounters a strange tree that bears sweet fruit and tapers at the bottom rather than the top Dante hears voices reciting examples of temperance Mary the women of ancient Rome who only drank water Daniel who was granted the power to interpret dreams because he would not eat the king39s meat and John the Baptist who ate only honey and locusts when he lived in the wilderness Purgatorio section 23 Still on the Sixth Terrace the three poets hear a spirit singing quotLabia mea Dominequot Open my lips O Lord and my mouth will proclaim your praise As the voice sings praises Dante sees numerous pale spirits hurrying past him The spirits appear hollow and emaciated from hunger Dante meets an old friend Forese Donati a fellow Florentine poet who explains that the tree and the water the feeds it purify the gluttonous sinners who must spend their time in Purgatory without food and water Dante asks Forese to explain how he was able to pass AntePurgatory so quickly Forese responds that the prayers of his virtuous widow helped him leave AntePurgatory early His widow Nella stands in stark contrast to current Florentine women who are immodest and appear in public with their breasts exposed Forese notices Dante39s shadow and asks for an explanation Dante reminds his friend that he has led a reckless life and that Virgil was sent to rescue him and will be Dante39s guide until he meets Beatrice Purgatorio section 24 Forese points out other gluttonous penitents a pope who loved eels cooked in wine Ubaldino dalla Pila Bonafazio and Marhese a man who was never satisfied despite his constant drinking One ofthe Gluttons the poet B y 2 asks Dante if he wrote the poem quotLadies who have intelligence of lovequot and Dante replies that he writes about love when he is moved by love Bonagiunta believes that it is this inspiration that sets Dante apart from other poets With the exception of Forese the spirits that have gathered around the poets disperse Dante tells Forese that he hopes to return to the terrace soon because his city has become so corrupt Forese prophesizes that the man responsible for the downfall of Florence will be killed violently and descend to Hell shortly As Forese bids farewell to his friend the poets move to another fruit tree A voice from within the branches of the tree tell the travelers to keep moving and remember these examples of gluttony the centaurs who had to fight Theseus when they were drunk and the soldiers who were rejected by Gideon for being drunk The angel of temperance descends and erases another Pfrom Dante39s forehead Glowing like molten glass the angel directs the poets to the next level as it recites the last part of the Fourth Beatitude quotBlessed are those whom grace illumines so that in their breasts the love of taste does not awake too much desirewhose hungering is always in just measurequot Purgatorio section 25 Statius Dante and Virgil climb the stairs to the Seventh and final Terrace where the Lustful serve their penance As they travel Dante asks Virgil to explain how shades can suffer from hunger when their bodies are made of air and therefore have no need for food Virgil cites the example of Meleager who starved because of a prophecy of the Fates to suggest that Dante consider supernatural phenomenon as the explanation Virgil then turns to Statius for a more detailed response to Dante39s question Based on a medieval understanding of reproduction Statius39 answer begins with the act of procreation Statius explains that refined blood passes from man to woman and creates a human being The fetus although he does not use this term goes through three stages of development vegetative sensitive and intellective God creates the complete soul by endowing babies with the intellective faculty at birth At death the soul leaves the body but retains its intellect memory and will When the soul reaches either Acheron entrance to Hell or Tiber entrance to Purgatory the soul assumes a body without mass that takes attributes of its former body The shades therefore see hear speak and weep The poets reach the Seventh Terrace and find a river of fire Voices from within the flames chant quotSummae Deus clementiaequot O God of supreme clemency After each hymn spirits recite examples of chastity such as Mary39s words during the Annunciation and the banishment of Helice from the woods of Diana The shades also list names of men and women who were chaste during their lifetimes Purgatorio section 26 Dante39s shadow attracts the spirits39 attention As Dante begins to explain his situation two groups of spirits moving in opposite directions pass each other As they pass the shades greet one another with quick kisses and one group shouts quotSodom and Gomorrahquot while the other group cries that Pasiphae has turned into a cow to attract a bull Once the groups pass the first group resumes its hymnchanting Dante explains that he still lives as a mortal and asks the spirits to identify themselves One spirit reveals that the souls in the group yelling quotSodom and Gomorrahquot were guilty of the unnatural vices for which Caesar was called quot while the other souls in the other group were guilty of natural lust The spirit identifies itself as 39 Dante expresses his admiration for Guido who he considered a preeminent writer of love poetry Guido however points to another spirit that a39l writhing in the flames as a better poet than himself Dante greets Arnaut who responds in the Provencal language Purgatorio section 27 As the angel of chastity descends to greet the poet it sings quotBeati mundo cordequot Blessed are the pure in heart The angel urges the travelers to cross through the river of fire because there is no other way up the mountain to the Earthly Paradise Terrified that he will be burned alive Dante at first refuses to enter the flames Virgil however encourages Dante by reminding him that Beatrice waits for him above At the mention of Beatrice Dante enters the river and writhes in pain from the incredible heat Angelic voices urge the poets out of the flames Darkness falls as the poets safe from the fire lie down on the steps to rest until daybreak In his dream Dante sees Leah who picking flowers tells Dante that she prefers to spend her time weaving her flowers into garlands while her sister Rachel prefers to look at her own beautiful eyes in a mirror After Dante awakens the three poets resume their climb Although Dante will soon attain true happiness Virgil explains that he has brought Dante as far as he can as his teacher Virgil states that having passed through Hell and Purgatory Dante can now be his own guide Virgil39s final words to his pupil quotl crown and miter you over yourselfquot Purgatorio section 28 Dante and Statius enter the divine forest ofthe Earthly Paradise Sweet odors soft breezes and chirping birds fill the air as Dante approaches a lovely stream followed by the spirits of the ancient poets Dante spies a beautiful woman picking flowers and singing across the river The lady nears the stream and Dante muses quotNo sooner had she reached the point where that fair river39s waves could barely bathe the grass than she gave me this gift lifting her eyes I do not think a light so bright had shone beneath the lids of Venus when her son pierced her in extraordinary fashionquot The lady tells Dante that she will answer any questions that puzzle him Dante asks her to explain how breezes and flowing streams exist in this place Matilda replies that the breezes in the Earthly Paradise are created by motions of Heaven which always flow in the same direction A fountain created by the will of God feeds two streams Lethe and Eunoe Matilda concludes by instructing Dante to remember that the poets of the Golden Age had an understanding of this region where man first lived in innocence Purgatorio section 29 Matilda resumes her singing as she moves along the banks of Lethe Dante keeps pace with her until they come to a sharp bend in the river Matilda stops and urges Dante quotMy brother look and listenquot A great light sweeps across the forest as Dante hears music so lovely that it causes him to regret Eve having caused the casting out of humankind from Eden Dante invokes the Muses to help him describe this experience because he struggles to put his sentiments into words Dante sees seven lighted candlesticks in the distance Followed by twentyfour elders crowned in white lilies the candles move slowly forward Four creatures each with six wings covered with eyes follow the elders With a head of gold and a body of red and white a gryphon pulls a chariot amidst the four beasts Three ladies red green and white dance at one of the chariot39s wheels while four ladies dressed in purple dance at the other wheel Two old men one a physician and the other carrying a sword follow the chariot while four humble men follow them Finally one figure trails brings up the rear of the procession The procession halts at the sound of thunder Purgatorio section 30 As the procession halts the elders cry quotVeni sponsa de Libanoquot Come bride from Lebanon and a group of angels drop flowers over the chariot as they sing quotBenedictus qui venisquot Blessed are you who come A lad crowed with an olive garland and wearing a white veil emerges from the mist Dante recognizes at once even though he cannot see her face Dante turns to express his happiness to Virgil but finds that his teacher has left Dante begins to weep but Beatrice tells him that he will soon weep for a different sorrow Beatrice tells the angels about Dante39s sinful ways Dante recoils in shame Beatrice explains that although Dante has great talent and loved her faithfully while she was alive he has strayed from God39s plan after her death Although she tried to save him from Heaven Beatrice realized that she had to bring him on this journey so that he could see the torment and torture of lost souls for himself so she went to Limbo to beseech Virgil to be Dante39s guide Purgatorio section 31 Beatrice asks Dante if her accusations are true quottell tell if this is true for your confession must be entwined with such selfaccusationquot Fraught with shame Dante responds affirmatively Beatrice urges Dante to reveal the pitfalls that made him stray from his virtuous path Dante tries to explain that after Beatrice39s death he took pleasure in earthly vanities After this confession Beatrice tells Dante that his memory of her should keep him from ever straying again Still hanging his head in deep shame Dante stands across the river from Beatrice as she asks him to lift his eyes to gaze up her immortal beautysomething that will cause him more suffering Dante realizes that even through her veil Beatrice is quotseemed to surpass her former self in beauty as here on Earth she had surpassed all othersquot Overcome with remorse Dante faints As he revives Dante finds Matilda standing over him Matilda leads Dante across Lethe where he can wash away his sins On the opposite shore of the river the four women in purple greet Dante and usher him to Beatrice The three other dancing ladies urge Beatrice to raise her veil and look upon the poet who has traveled so far Beatrice raises her veil and Dante cannot find words to describe his experience thereafter Purgatorio section 32 Transfixed by Beatrice39s gaze Dante emerges from his trance only by the dancing ladies Dante compares his vision to that of a person who has looked directly at the sun As the procession begins to move again Dante and Statius take positions with Matilda at the wheel of the chariot The marchers circle a tree and after Beatrice steps to the ground they connect the chariot to the tree Bursts of beautiful blossoms spring from the tree As the marchers begin to sing a hymn Dante falls asleep under the tree When he awakens Dante finds himself alone with Beatrice and her maids Guarding the chariot Beatrice tells Dante to watch what is about to happen with care and to write about it when he returns to Earth An eagle emerges from the sky and attacks the tree dropping feathers on the chariot Beatrice scares off a fox that tries to enter the chariot then a dragon emerges from the ground and breaks the chariot Feathers coverthe remains ofthe chariot that sprouts seven horned heads A whore takes a seat upon the chariot then a giantjoins her The giant kisses the harlot passionately but then beats her when he sees her attention turn to Dante Angrily the giant pulls the chariot away and into the woods Purgatorio section 33 Beatrice39s maids weep over the destruction ofthe chariot but Beatrice tells Dante Matilda and Statius to follow her Dante tells Beatrice that he won39t ask her any questions because she already knows what is proper for him to understand Beatrice admonishes Dante to dismiss his shame and fear Beatrice prophesies that God will instruct an avenger who will slay the whore and the giant Beatrice assures Dante that her words will soon become clear Dante vows to tell his story with clarity Beatrice asks Matilda to lead Dante to the river Eunoe As Dante and Statius prepare to enter Heaven Dante states quotFrom that most holy wave now returned to Beatrice remade as new trees are renewed when they bring forth new boughs l was pure and prepared to climb into the starsquot Paradiso section 1 Dante has seen God in all His glory but finds it difficult to articulate his experience as he begins the last of his three canticles on Heaven Dante invokes the assistance of Apollo to help him in this task The sun stands at high noon during the vernal equinox when Dante and Beatrice make their ascent from Purgatory to Heaven Beatrice and Dante turn to look directly into the flaming sun Dante can barely endure the brightness as he turns to face Beatrice As he gazes upon his beloved he becomes quottranshumanizedquothe loses his physical body Upon reaching the Sphere of Fire wonderful music and extreme brightness surround the travelers Beatrice explains that Dante39s soul moved toward God so quickly because everything has a natural tendency to return to the point from which it came Paradiso section 2 Using a nautical metaphor Dante advises his readers to follow him closely on this journey through Heaven Dante and Beatrice arrive in the Sphere of the Moon as quickly as an arrow Dante wonders how he can enter the opaque mass that surrounds them in this sphere After deliberating on the subject Dante decides that this phenomenon may help explain Christ39s incarnation Dante asks Beatrice to explain the cause of the dark spots on the moon Beatrice responds by asking Dante to first assert his own theory on the topic Dante proposes that the density of the moon varies across the surface In refuting Dante39s theory Beatrice raises several detailed and complex counterpoints and proposes an experiment using mirrors to refute Dante39s variable density idea Instead Beatrice explains that the energy and light emitted by God travel through the universe uniformly but hit heavenly bodies differently depending on the nature ofthe mass Thus Beatrice asserts the differences depend on quality rather than on quantity as Dante had argued Paradiso section 3 The cloudy faces of seven spirits ap ear in the haze and motion that they wish to speak with Dante One ofthe spirits identifies herself ash onati and explains that God assigned to this realm the spirits such as inconstant nuns that broke their vows with God However she continues all the spirits in Heaven remain content regardless oftheir position relative to God Dante asks the spirits if they ever hope to ascend in Heaven Smiling the spirits reply that they are happy with the station assigned to them through divine love Dante learns that although God39s grace shines on souls in varying degrees all souls that enter Heaven feel perfectly blessed Piccarda explains that she came to this station because her brother forced her to leave her convent to marry Another spirit Constance confirms that her story resembles Piccarda39s story As Piccarda fades into the haze singing Ave Maria Dante turns to Beatrice whose face has increased in brightness and beauty Paradiso section 4 Puzzled by two questions regarding Constance and Piccarda Dante idles but does not broach the subjects with Beatrice Reading his thoughts Beatrice first addresses Dante39s question about whether souls return to the sphere of Heaven from which they were born or if all spirits live in the Empyrean the highest level Beatrice explains that all spirits live in Empyrean but show their faces to Dante in the sphere with which they are associated The human intellect Beatrice states must perceive spirits in this manner because men need to see things to believe them Beatrice concludes her discourse by explaining why Plato was wrong in asserting that spirits return to the stars from which they came Next Beatrice responds to Dante39s question about the fairness of blaming people for actions that are forced against them Beatrice explains that fault lies in the acceptance of an act rather than in the act itself Piccarda and Constance for example failed to return to their convents when they were free to do so Dante wonders if people can pay for breaking vows by doing good deeds Beatrice directs her dazzling gaze on Dante who must turn away because of the brightness of her eyes Paradiso section 5 Beatrice explains that her beauty and brightness increase as they ascend in Heaven because herjoy increases Beatrice finds joy in Dante39s spiritual enlightenment Beatrice then responds to Dante39s last question by explaining that good deeds can never fully compensate for broken vows because when people break vows they exercise their most precious gift from God free will against God Additionally although a vow cannot be withdrawn the things that one promises can be replaced by other things in the ratio of six replacement deeds to four deeds originally promised Beatrice then insists that all Christians must follow both the Old and New Testament when they make vows As Dante and Beatrice rocket to the next sphere Beatrice39s increased radiance causes the whole sphere to brighten Dante39s heart leaps with delight in response to his beloved39s beauty Dante finds himself amidst a thousand souls Dante begs the spirits to tell him who they are and how they came to this sphere One spirit begins to glow more brightly as it begins to speakto Dante Paradiso section 6 The spirit addressing Dante here in the Sphere of Mercury belongs to a sixthcentury emperor Best known for codifying Roman law Justinian dives into a cantolong discussion of the Roman Empireits history and the symbolism of the eagle Some of the historical points raised by Justinian include the establishment of Troy in Italy by Aeneas the defeat of Hannibal several important wars Augustus Tiberius Titus and Charlemagne Justinian concludes by remarking on the evil ofthose the Guelphs who wish to replace the eagle the symbol ofthe Roman Empire with the lilies of France while the Ghibellines hope to claim the eagle as a symbol for their faction alone Dante asks Justinian to discuss the nature of the spirits that appear in this sphere Justinian responds that these spirits belong to people who were virtuous in life but neglected God because of their desire for fame and honor A new spirit identifies himself to Dante as Romeo Romeo states that although he served his master well he was driven to a life in exile byjealous courtiers Paradiso section 7 Still in the Sphere of Mercury Justinian39s spirit rejoins the other lights in the sky Confused by an issue raised by Justinian Dante wishes he could ask Beatrice to answer his questions but refuses to ask her because of his reverence for her Beatrice however can read Dante39s unspoken thoughts so she gladly addresses Dante39s question about the nature of vengeance Dante wonders why it was just for Titus to destroy Jerusalem ifthe Crucifixion wasjust vengeance for the sins of man Beatrice reminds Dante of the dual nature of Christhuman and divine The Crucifixion ofthe human side of Jesus was just punishment for the sins of man but the Crucifixion of the divine side of Jesus was a sacrilege Thus the destruction of Jerusalem wasjust punishment for that sacrilege against God Beatrice then responds to Dante39s second question about why God chose Crucifixion as the way to redeem man Beatrice explains that mankind was perfect when God first created humans but fell from grace because of Adam39s sins Redemption for these sins could only come through divine mercy and there is no example of greater divine mercy than Christ39s sacrifice at the cross Finally Beatrice explains why men are incorruptible Her explanation justifies the notion that bodies and souls will be resurrected at Judgment Day Paradiso section 8 Upon seeing Beatrice39s beauty grow again Dante realizes that they have ascended to the Sphere of Venus A spirit approaches and identifies himself as a great ruler Charles Martel who was loved by Dante Martel regrets the downfall of his family at the hands of poor rulers among its ranks Happy to see his friend Dante asks Martel to explain how his brother could be such a poor ruler while his father was so great Martel explains that society must have diverse characters such as judges and mechanics Differences between father and son are created by God according to a divine scheme and any irregularities in families are due to Providence It is bad for society for men to overturn Providence so men who are born to be clergy members must become clergy members while men born to be warriors should become warriors Paradiso section 9 Charles Martel prophesies that great ill fortune will befall his family A new spirit approaches Dante The spirit identifies herself as Cunizza Cunizza states that the fame of the spirit next to her will last for five hundred years but she does not identify the nearby spirit Cunizza then criticizes the cruelty and mean spiritedness that prevails in her native land Treviso The outspoken Cunizza predicts that her neighbors will soon meet misfortune As Cunizza departs the famous but unnamed spirit steps forward The spirit identifies himself as Folco Folco reports that although he burned with desires during his lifetime those memories cause him no pain now Folco identifies another nearby spirit as Rahab the harlot of Jericho Despite her sinful life Rahab earned salvation because she helped Joshua take Jericho Folco censures Florence for its corruption but predicts that Rome will soon free itself from the vices that have befallen Florence Paradiso section 10 At this point Dante urges his readers to think about the perfection of the universal plan Dante points out the movements ofthe sun and of the stars that create the seasons on Earth If the revolutions of the sun or of the stars strayed off path then everything on Earth would die Suddenly Dante realizes that he and his guide have entered the Sphere of the Sun a realm filled with intense brightness In that moment Dante39s consuming love for God surpasses his love for Beatrice Beatrice and Dante find themselves encircled by a crown of dancing glorious lights that sing a beautiful melody A voice calls out from the crown that he will identify the spirits that surround the poet Albert of Cologne himself Gratian Peter of Lombard and several others including lsadore of Seville and Bede The twelve figures again begin to dance around Dante and Beatrice in perfect harmony Paradiso section 11 Dante opens this Canto by musing on the senseless acts of mortals who pursue wealth and power How trivial their pursuits seem in comparison to hisjourney with Beatrice The dancing lights stop circling when St Thomas addresses Dante St Thomas declares that to ensure the union between the Church and Christ Providence appointed two pious leaders The first leader St Francis of Assisi gave up his wealth to devote himself to poverty St Francis attracted disciples who followed their leader by accepting poverty in their hearts and in their behaviorthey walked barefoot and wore ragged clothing St Francis preached Christianity in Egypt and received the stigmata before he died The second leader St Thomas instructs was St Dominic who instructed his followers in humility and service to God Many of Dominic39s followers however became greedy and now few people in the Dominican order remain faithful to St Dominic39s guidance Paradiso section 12 Still in the Sphere ofthe Sun Dante notices a new ring of spirits encircle the first ring The two rings sing and move in harmony A voice from the second circle tells Dante that he too must extol the virtues of St Dominic because St Dominic and St Francis were appointed by Christ to lead Christians back to God The spirit then goes on to detail the life story of St Dominic Dominic was born in Calahorra where his mother had a prophetic dream about his greatness before he was born Dominic became a great teacher and traveled great distances to preach his message Dominic appealed to papal authority so that he could fight heretics The spirit then turns to a discussion of St Francis He laments that factions within the Franciscan order are causing division The speaker finally identifies himself as the Franciscan Bonaventura then names all twelve spirits in the second circle Paradiso section 13 Dante asks his reader to imagine the astronomical delights that surround him We are asked to think of the twentyfour brightest stars that we know arranged in a double crown The crowns circle in opposite directions as they sing about the glories of God and the dual nature of Christ St Thomas Aquinas reads the question about the wisdom of Solomon lingering in Dante39s mind Dante believes that both Adam and Christ had perfect wisdom so they should be placed above Solomon St Thomas explains that one cannot compare Adam and Christ to Solomon because they were created directly by God while a minister of God created Solomon Solomon39s wisdom therefore must be compared to the wisdom of other human rulers St Thomas admonishes Dante for coming to an uninformed conclusion and cites incorrect philosophers and sacrilegious teachers as examples people who did not practice sound judgment Paradiso section 14 Beatrice asks the spirits to explain whether or not the spirits will retain their radiance after Resurrection when they rejoin their bodies The spirits sing a hymn to the Trinity three times then the voice belonging to Solomon responds According to Solomon spirits will retain their radiance because it is an expression oftheir innerjoy All bodily organs will develop the strength to withstand the extreme brilliance When body and soul meet again at Resurrection the spirit will attain infinite and perfect glory A third crown surrounds the innertwo and intensifies the brilliant light surrounding Dante The poet must look away to avoid blinding himself Beatrice comforts Dante and when he raises his eyes again he realizes that they have entered the Sphere of Mars Dante observes two beams of light that intersect to form a cross Radiant spirits perform an intricate dance while they sing something that Dante cannot comprehend within the light beams Overcome with joy Dante states that this experience surpasses all of the pleasures he has known However Dante does make it clear that he had not yet viewed the beauty of Beatrice since they had ascended to the new sphere Paradiso section 15 The music in the Sphere of Mars stops abruptly as the light of a spirit blazes down from the cross to approach Dante The cordial spirit expresses his delight at seeing his blood relative Dante39s ancestor speaks about issues too profound for Dante39s comprehension then urges Dante to voice his questions Dante ex resses his gratitude for the spirit39s cordial greeting and asks him to identify himself The spirit is Dante39s greatgreatgrandfather and the father of Alighiero the family namesake Cacciaguida explains that when he lived in Florence the city was modest and honorable He was baptized in Florence and went on to serve Emperor Conrad II on a crusade He died in battle as a martyr Paradiso section 16 Through his conversation with Cacciaguida Dante realizes that ancestors must continually strengthen and bring honor to their bloodline if they hope to maintain the nobility of their blood Dante urges his greatgreatgrandfather to tell him when he was born and to identify the other families that lived in Florence during his time Cacciaguida indicates that he was born around 1100 AD Cacciaguida however does not want to enumerate on the lives of his contemporaries Instead he tells Dante that had the Church not fought against the Empire then Florence would not have captured towns in Tuscany from which refugees flooded into Florence In conclusion Dante39s elder lists numerous families that were thought to be noble during his time but have lost their strength now For some ofthe families Cacciaguida notes the reason for their fall from grace Paradiso section 17 Dante asks his forefather to tell him what his future holds Cacciaguida tells Dante that although God sees the future He does not interfere with man39s free will Dante39s greatgreat grandfather then tells Dante that his exile from Florence will be the result of a plot concerning the pope Cacciaguida prophesies the trials and tribulations that Dante will face in exilethat he will break from his fellow exiles that he will find refuge with della Scala of Verona and that he will meet Can Grande della Scala who will perform great deeds that relate to Dante Dante asks his elder if he should report what he has learned when he returns to Earth Cacciaguida urges Dante to reveal all that he has learned even if it hurts or angers people Cacciaguida reminds Dante to be fearless and to let his poetic mission be his guide Paradiso section 18 Dante turns to Beatrice while Cacciaguida concentrates on his own reflections Overcome by his beloved39s radiant beauty Dante doubts that he can properly describe the love that he feels from her Beatrice prompts Dante to turn his attention back to Cacciaguida when the elder39s expression seems to change Cacciaguida decides to reveal the names of other spirits that dwell in the cross from which he came Joshua Judas Maccabaeus Charlemagne Roland William of Orange Renouard Godfrey of Bouillon and Robert Guiscard As Cacciaguida names each heroic soldier the corresponding light in the cross shines with greater brilliance As Dante observes Beatrice39s increasing beauty he realizes that they have moved to the Sphere of Jupiter The souls in this realm wheel through the air like birds flying in formation to spell a message quotDiligite iustitiam qui iudicatis terramquot Love justice 0 you who judge the Earth Only the 39M39 remains as the spirits fly away and rejoin the 39M39 to form first a lily then an eagle Dante prays to understand earthlyjustice through divine justice then he denounces the papacy specifically indicting Pope John XXII Paradiso section 19 Still in the Sphere of Jupiter the spirits forming the emblem of the eagle speak to Dante in unison The eagle symbol states that it left piety and justice on Earth When Dante asks for clarification the spirits state that divine justice is so complexthat not even Lucifer could understand it Man therefore cannot hope to comprehend divine justice Dante wonders how it is just that a man in India who has never heard of Christ could be denied a spot in Heaven The eagle retorts that men can only accept the authority of the Scriptures to understand such issues However the eagle also explains that some nonChristians will find themselves closer to God on Judgment Day than will Christians who committed horrible sins The eagle concludes by berating evil rulers Paradiso section 20 The spirits in the Sphere of Jupiter sing a glorious song then turn back to their discourse with Dante The eagle reveals that the most honored spirits form the eye of the eagle David stands at the very center of the eye while other great heroes such as Emperor Trajan Hezekiah Emperor Constantine William ll of Sicily and Ripheus surround the eye The eagle reads Dante39s confusion about the fact that two pagans Trajan and Ripheus occupy such honored positions The eagle explains that St Gregory pulled Trajan out of Limbo through his prayers and that Ripheus knew about the coming of Christ and believing in Christ was baptized by the Christian virtues faith love and hope The eagle admonishes mortals for coming to hastyjudgments while the souls of Trajan and Ripheus glow with pleasure Paradiso section 21 Beatrice39s incredible beauty indicates to Dante that they have ascended to the Sphere of Jupiter Dante sees a golden ladder upon which spirits move up and down Dante asks one approaching spirit to explain why there is no singing in the sphere The spirit responds that Dante39s mortal ears cannot hear the singing and that he has descended down the ladder to make Dante happy Dante asks why this spirit was nominated to greet him The spirit glows and spins with glee because quotLight from the Deity descends on himquot However the spirit cannot fathom why he was chosen to meet Dante and he urges Dante to tell mortals not to bothert in to resolve questions of predestination and other divine mysteries The spirit identifies himself as and tells his holy story St Peter Damian concludes his discourse with a strong censure of degenerate prelates Other spirits descend the ladder and join Damian in a clamorous shout that overcomes Dante Paradiso section 22 Beatrice explains that the thunderous shout of the spirits expresses the admonishment of the clergy for its deterioration A brilliant light among the spirits on the ladder speaks to Dante The spirit belonging to St Benedict relates the story of how he founded a Benedictine monastery in Monte Cassino He then points out two other spirits that devoted their lives to contemplation St Maccarius and St Romualdus Dante begs to see Benedict in his physical form and the saint replies that his wish can only be granted when he ascends to the highest level of Heaven Benedict then rails against the current monastic life calling monasteries quotdens of thievesquot Benedict then returns to his fellow spirits who mount the ladder in unison Dante and Beatrice follow the saints up the ladder and arrive in the House of Gemini Dante39s own Zodiac sign Dante turns to look downward and takes pleasure in how small and insignificant the Earth appears After admiring the beautiful planets that circle below him Dante turns his gaze to Beatrice once again Paradiso section 23 As Beatrice and Dante ascend to the Sphere ofthe Fixed Stars Beatrice her face aflame gazes expectantly toward Heaven As Dante39s beloved announces the approach of Christ Dante notices a great light surrounded by numerous smaller lights in the distance At first Dante must lower his eyes from the shocking brilliance but with a smile that sends Dante into ecstasy Beatrice urges her companion to view the divine scene Dante sees the light of Christ rise above him the Rose Empyrean that represents Mary and the lilies that represent the apostles A spinnin light representing Gabriel circles the Rose and fills the air with sweet hymns devoted to Mary follows Christ39s light to heights beyond Dante39s perception As she rises spirits sing their adoration and call out her name In praise of the righteous apostles Dante exclaims quotOh in those richest coffers what abundance is garnered up for those who while below on earth were faithful workers when they sowed Here do they live delighting in the treasure they earned with tears in Babylonian exile where they had no concern for gold Here under the high Son of God and Mary together with the ancient and the new councils he triumphs in his victory he who is keeper of the keys of goldquot Paradiso section 24 Beatrice begs the gathered spirits to help teach Dante The spirit belonging to detaches from the group and begins to examine Dante on his understanding of faith When St Peter asks 39What is faithquot Dante cites Paul and replies quotfaith is the substance of the things we hope for and is the evidence of the things not seen and this I take to be its quiddityquot Pleased St Peter presses Dante to elaborate on the uses of quotsubstancequot and quotevidencequot in this context Dante responds that faith alone supports the belief in the divine ideas and images that have been revealed to him on this journey This faith is quotcalled a substancequot and from this faith man must reason and make deductions that apply to the mortal world In this way faith is also quotcalled an evidencequot St Peter accepts Dante39s answer and asks the poet how he came to understand these issues Dante replies that he learned about faith from the Holy Scriptures In conclusion Dante states his belief in the Trinity St Peter circles Dante three times to express his satisfaction and delight in Dante Paradiso section 25 Dante expresses his hope to return to Florence to be crowned a poet in the Baptistry The spirit of St James approaches and Beatrice asks the apostle to test Dante on the virtue of hope St James asks 39What is hopequot Beatrice interrupts Dante before he can respond by telling St James that there is no man more hopeful than Dante and his journey to Heaven proves such In response to St James39 question Dante states quotHope is the certain expectation of future glory it is the result of God39s grace and of merit we have earned This light has come to me from many stars but he who first instilled it in my heart was the chief singer of the Sovereign Guide the psalms of Davidquot Dante goes on to elaborate on the promises of hope as explained in the Bible A third light descends and dances joyfully with St James and St Peter Beatrice explains that this light belongs to Following Beatrice39s lead Dante stares at St John until the light blinds him St John teases Dante as a hush falls over the realm Dante turns to Beatrice but cannot see her Paradiso section 26 St John comforts Dante by reminding him that Beatrice can heal his blindness Then examining the poet on love and charity the saint asks Dante who inspired him to seek such lofty goals Dante replies that he found inspiration in John39s gospels God39s words to Moses and in the writings of Aristotle The spirit then asks Dante to explain the force that binds him so closely to God Dante confirms that Christ39s sacrifice strengthens his love for God and that he loves all of God39s creatures Beatrice exclaims quotHoly holy holyquot and restores Dante39s sight A fourth spirit belonging to greets Dante as he emerges from his blindness Adam explains that God did not banish him from the Garden of Eden because he ate the forbidden fruit lnstead God sent Adam away because he disobeyed God Adam then reveals that he spent thousands of years in Limbo before he ascended to Heaven Adam reports that he lived in Eden for only six hours and that the language that was spoken there was lost even before the Tower of Babel Paradiso section 27 quot39Unto the Father Son and Holy Ghost glory39all Paradise began so that the sweetness of the singing held me rapt What I saw seemed to me to be a smile the universe had smilequot Still in the Sphere of Fixed Stars Dante stands enraptured by the beautiful singing ofthe blessed The light of St Peter glows brilliantly compared to the lights around him St Peter denounces the modern papacy as degenerate and corrupt Ofthe recent popes St Peter states quotHe who on Earth usurps my place my place my place that in the sight of God39s own Son is vacant now has made my burial ground a sewer of blood a sewer of stench so that the perverse one who fell from Heaven here above can find contentment there belowquot St Peter warns that punishment for these sins will soon come and urges Dante to speak out strongly against papal corruption when he returns to Earth All ofthe spirits of the apostles saints and prophets ascend into the higher levels of Heaven as Dante gazes upon the Earth below Dante turns to Beatrice as they move to the next level the Primum Mobile God39s love powers this sphere which in turn controls the movement of all of the lower spheres Beatrice points out that time begins in this sphere then she launches into a discourse about how the world has strayed Beatrice remarks that men are not evil by nature Children she explains display innocence and faith but turn vicious as they growespecially now because no one governs well However Beatrice does believe that the world will find redemption Paradiso section 28 In Beatrice39s eyes Dante sees God in relation to his angels When Dante turns from his beloved39s eyes he faces a tiny pinpoint of great brilliance surrounded by nine concentric circles of light Beatrice explains that the center light is God and that the surrounding spheres that are closer to God derive more energy than do the spheres farther away This pattern does not resemble the planetary system in which the outer spheres move faster Beatrice explains that God lives beyond the planetary system and thus creates the contradictory phenomenon Beatrice identifies the order of angels starting with the sphere closest to God Seraphim Cherubim the Thrones the Dominations the Virtues the Powers the Principalities the Archangels and the Angels While all ofthe angels gaze upward toward God their powers are channeled down to the appropriate spheres in the universe In conclusion Beatrice reflects that Dionysis a notable author who discussed angelic order had been correct in his assertions Paradiso section 29 Reflecting on the center light of God Beatrice pauses for a moment before she responds to several questions on Dante39s mind Beatrice explains that God created angels in his own reflection God combined pure form and pure matter to create angels Thus St Jerome39s assertion that God produced angels before spirit and matter existed was incorrect After a band of angels was cast out of Heaven the rest ofthe angels remained circling the Heavens forever Beatrice censures theologians and preachers who idly speculate about such matters as the nature of angels These teachers contemplate divine mysteries at the expense of spreading and teaching the Gospel Beatrice concludes her discussion of angels by pointing out that their diversity reflects the diversity of God39s love for them quotThe First Light reaches them in ways as many as are the angels to which lt conjoins ltself as It illumines all ofthem and this is why because affection follows the act of knowledge the intensity of love39s sweetness appears unequallyquot Paradiso section 30 Of Beatrice39s growing beauty Dante writes quotIf that which has been said of her so far were contained within a single praise it would be much too scant to serve me now The loveliness I saw surpassed not only our human measureand I think that surely only its Maker can enjoy it fullyquot Again as Beatrice39s beauty increases she and Dante ascend to the next level of Heaven the Empyrean Beatrice tells Dante that he will see angels and saints in their human form as they will appear at Resurrection Momentarily blinded Dante regains his sight to see a river of light flowing past him Sparks fly out of the river and land on the flowers that line the banks Beatrice prompts Dante to touch his eyes to the river As he touches the light the river turns into a sea and the sparks of the river transform into the shape of a giant rose A thousand tiers form the petals of the rose and a great light shines from the center Beatrice points to the few seats in the rose petals that are unfilled one of which has been reserved for Emperor Henry Vll Beatrice explains that Henry will attempt to free Italy The pope Clement V will stop Henry but find his punishment in Hell alongside Boniface Vlll Paradiso section 31 Dante describes the angels swarming throughout the great Rose quotjust like a swarm of bees that at one moment enters the flowers and at another turns back to that labor which yields such sweet savor descended into that vast flower graced with many petals then again rose up to the eternal dwelling of its lovequot Overcome with joy Dante quietly gazes upon the fiery faces of the blessed However when Dante turns to question Beatrice he finds that his beloved no longer stands beside him Instead instructs Dante to turn his attention to the seat in the Rose where Beatrice now sits Dante expresses his profound gratitude to Beatrice who turns to him and smiles sweetly St Bernard tells Dante to look at the highest tier to gaze upon Mary who sits enthroned in light and surrounded by thousands of angels that sing joyously Paradiso section 32 St Bernard explains the arrangement of the tiers of the Rose and points out several notable characters surrounding Mary Eve Rachel Sarah Rebecca Judith and Ruth These Old Testament women form a dividing line between Christians who believed in Christ before he was born and those who believed in him after he took human form Opposite the line of women sit the male saints St Francis St John the Baptist St Benedict and St Augustine Adults occupy the u er tiers ofthe Rose while infants sit in the bottom tiers St Bernard again asks Dante to gaze upon whose brilliance will prepare him to lay his eyes on Christ As Dante turns to Mary the entire assembly of angels sings quotAve Mariaquot with tremendous joy St Bernard points out more important figures gathered around Mary Adam Peter John the Apostle Moses St Anne and St Lucy Dante39s guide instructs him that he must earn Mary39s grace before Christ will be revealed to him Paradiso section 33 St Bernard prays to Mary on Dante39s behalf St Bernard beseeches the mother of Christ to grant Dante a vision of God and the power to recount his journey on his return to Earth Pleased by St Bernard39s pious words Mary turns her gaze toward the center light and St Bernard prompts Dante to follow Mary39s lead Dante looks up into the light and receives a glorious vision that he cannot fully recount because he has lost memory of it He still feels the emotion of the experience but he cannot recall the details ofthe encounter He invokes God to help him recall the scene so that he can tell the world about it Dante writes that he gazed into the light until he saw quotsubstances accidents and dispositionsquot of the universe bound together by love into a single volume Dante reveals that he saw within the Eternal Light three circles of different colors reflecting each other In one ofthe circles he saw a human face that puzzled him completely Finally a great flash of revelation brought his desires and will into alignment The revelation Dante reports was caused by God39s love the love quotthat moves the sun and the other starsquot
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