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English 330: Dante

Purgatorio Structures & Contexts

Narrative & Theological Structures
C20: Whip & Rein of Avarice
C19: Slothful, Angel of Zeal & Avariciousness
C18: Whip of Sloth & Rein of Sloth
C17: Rein of Wrath & Angle of Meekness
C16: The Wrathful
C15: Angel of Caritas & Whip of Wrath

Cornice 4
Cornice 3
Cornice 2

C14: Rein of Envy

C13: Whip of Envy
C12: Rein of Pride & Angel of Humility
C11: Pride
C10: Whip of Pride

Cornice 1







Lords Prayer

Tablets: Annunciation; David; Trajan

Satan; Alcameon; Troy (13)



Blessed are the Poor

Cain & Aglauros



Blessed are the Merciful

Visions: MaryTpl;Pisistratus;Stephen

Procne, Haman, Amata



Blessed are they that Mourn

Runners Voice: Mary & Caesar

Desert Israelites & Sicilian Trojans



My soul cleaves to the Dust

Manger Mary; Fabricus; Nicholas

Pygmalion, Midas; etc. (7)



Blessed are the who Hunger

CMary; Matrons; Daniel; Man; John Baptist

Eve; Centaurs; Gideon Army



Mary no wine; Orestes

146 References to Music in Commedia (Inferno: 29; Purgatorio: 59; Paradiso: 57)
Three Uses for Music in Purgatorio

To Soothe The Mind

As An Act of Worship
To Teach

Agnus Dei sung in Sacrament of the Mass During Fraction of the Host
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, grant us peace.
Confessional Structures
Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, 3
Accordingly the first requisite on the part of the penitent is the will to atone, and this is done by contrition; the second is that he
submit to the judgment of the priest standing in God's place, and this is done in confession; and the third is that he atone according
to the decision of God's minister, and this is done in satisfaction: and so contrition, confession, and satisfaction are assigned as
parts of Penance.

Contrition: feeling of sorrow for having committed sins

Confession: oral statement to a priest
Satisfaction: penitential act of compensation for the offence against God, self, or neighbor

Intertextual Discourses
Ovid, Metamorphoses 6
Procne burned, and could not control her anger, reproaching her sister for weeping, saying Now is not the time for tears, but for
the sword . . . I am prepared for any wickedness . . . to cut out his eyes and tongue, and the parts which brought shame to you . . . I
am ready for any enormity . . . [Procne] invites the unsuspecting Tereus to the feast . . . seated in his tall ancestral chair, and fills
his belly with his own child . . . Procne cannot hide her cruel exultation, and now, eager to be, herself, the messenger of
destruction, she cries You have him there, inside, the one you ask for . . . Philomela, springs forward, her hair wet with the dew
of that frenzied murder, and hurls the bloodstained head of Itys in his fathers face.
Esther 7

Then the king returned out of the palace garden into the place of the banquet of wine; and Haman was fallen upon the bed
whereon Esther was. Then said the king, Will he force the queen also before me in the house? As the word went out of the king's
mouth, they covered Haman's face. 9And Harbo'nah, one of the chamberlains, said before the king, Behold also the gallows fifty
cubits high, which Haman had made for Mordechai, who had spoken good for the king, standeth in the house of Haman. Then the
king said, Hang him thereon. 10So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordechai. Then was the king's
wrath pacified.
Virgil, Aeneid 12
When [native Italian] Queen Amata, from the palace, saw the enemy [Trojans] approaching, the walls assaulted, flames mounting
to the roofs, but no opposing Rutulian lines, nor Turnuss army, the unhappy queen thought Turnus had been killed in combat, and,
her mind distraught, in sudden anguish, she cried out that she was the cause, the guilty one, the source of evil, and uttering many
wild words in the frenzy of grief, wanting to die, she tore her purple robes, and fastened a hideous noose of death to a high beam.
Dream Structures
Ascent of Purgatory = 3 Days & 3 Nights
Three Dreams Create External Structure of Purgatorio

Didactic Dream Contra Nocturnal Stasis

Human Fatigue
1st Night

Eagle Dream:
Dante in Troy Lifted to Sphere of Fire
Divine Justice & Purifying Penance Awakens Dante


Tangled Theme
of Rein of Sloth
2nd Night

Two Women:
Singing Hag-Siren Transforms to Beauty & Allure
Holy Lady Unmasks Evil to Awaken Dante


Action or Contemplation
Wall of Fire
3rd Night

Two Ladies: Rachel and Leah

Singing Leah Making Garland: Action
Rachel Observing Own Reflection: Contemplation

Biblical Inter-Text
Psalm 119

I am laid low in the dust

preserve my life according to your word.
I gave an account of my ways and you answered me;
teach me your decrees.
Cause me to understand the way of your precepts,
that I may meditate on your wonderful deeds.
My soul is weary with sorrow;
strengthen me according to your word.