Dante Alighieri is one of the greatest poets of the Medieval Italy. All his works are marked with the unique style and progressive ideas of his time. Dante is famous for his Divine Comedy in which he described his journey through Hell and Purgatory to Paradiso. This poem is recognized as the most complete description of the netherworld. A great number of academic works have been written on the poem, however, it is still not analyzed completely and some issues are still undiscovered. Scientists and philosophers focused their attention on the chapter Hell (Inferno) while Purgatory (Purgatorio) and Paradise (Paradiso) are worth a great attention as well.
The meaning of those two chapters in the poem is significant for understanding the author’s intention and the aim of his writing. The chapter “Inferno” is focused on the depiction of human sins and weaknesses. The aim of Purgatio and Paradise is to show people the way to salvation. Purgatorio is a “bridge” that separates Hell and Heaven.
It is an inseparable part of Dante’s journey. Moreover, it is very important in terms of the redemption and preparation of the protagonist to enter the Heaven. For many centuries, theologies denied the existence of Purgatory. Moreover, in some religions, Orthodox for example, it is still not recognized. But still, Dante emphasizes the importance of Purgatory that aims at cleansing of sin.
It is a place for people who did not commit one of the seven deadly sins, but were not with God in the moment of their death. The souls of these people are preserved in Purgatory in order to be forgiven and enter the Heaven. The meaning of Purgatory is symbolic.
Introducing it into the text, the author depicts the Christian life on the earth. In addition, he leaves people a hope for salvation through prayers and believing in God’s mercy. Heaven (Paradiso) is the final destination of every “pure” soul, “the journey of a lost traveler back to his ultimate homeland, Heaven.” (Clinton 1207). Heaven is the symbol of clearness and sanctity. Dante assumes that Heaven is the condition of soul to which everyone should aspire.
The theological principles of four cardinal virtues are taken as the basis for Paradiso. Here Dante meets his bellowed Beatriche who is a symbol of purity and love, and several major saints of the Church. At the end of his journey, Dante sees the Triune God and he understands the essence of God’s love and mercy. Dante shows that one should pass through sufferings in order to be worthy of the God’s blessing. In addition, Dante finally understands the essence of existence. Thus, only love, prudence, fairness and kindness can save one’s soul. Thus, The Divine Comedy is “one of the indisputably great works of world literature” (Clinton 1205). It is the most detailed presentation of the idea of the afterlife.
Having analyzed the two last chapters of the Divine Comedy, we come to understanding of the meaning of these chapters. Purgatorio and Paradiso have a great significance for the understanding of the author’s intention to show the way to salvation. In these chapters, he gives people the explanation of how to “live with the God”. As it has already been mentioned, in these chapters, the author provides readers with a guide to the God’s love and blessing. He gives humanity a chance to save their souls and improve their life on the Earth through obeying the Testaments of the Bible and leading a pious life.
Clinton, Jerome W., F. Abiola Irele, Heather James.
The Norton Anthology of World Literature. W.W. Norton & Co., 2009