Cherylann's Reviews > The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri: Purgatorio

The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri by Dante Alighieri
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's review
Mar 05, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: medieval-literature
Read from March 05 to 27, 2012

Even as a good-little-Catholic-girl I have always had trouble with the concept of Purgatory. I couldn't understand why a so-called merciful God would want to punish those whom he actually loved. That was before I read Purgatorio.

The first word that used to come to my mind when pondering Purgatory (as I do so often of course) was suffering. Now, the words are love and hope. Purgatory is not a place of suffering, but a transformation of sin, a purifying of misdirected or perverted love. Ultimately all those in Purgatory will be saved. There is an end to punishment unlike in hell. That hope makes Purgatory less of a dismal and dreadful place. It is probably one of the places most entrenched in God's love.

Of course when I read Inferno in high school I was fascinated by the elusive Beatrice. Well, in Purgatorio she makes her long awaited debut. Her role is rather surprising. As a woman, it is surprising that her role in Dante's transformation is almost priest-like. She has Dante confess his sins to her: the sacrament of reconciliation. Another woman baptizes Dante in the river Lethe. This role of women is clearly linked to the worship of Mary in Dante's time, but I nonetheless found these powerful religious women refreshing.

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03/10/2012 page 59
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