A vertical reading of Dante’s Purgatorio 4

One way of reading Dante’s Divine Comedy is ‘vertically’, which means analyzing same-numbered cantos from two or three parts of the poem (canticles), Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradiso, for symmetrical meanings which become enriched by this clever juxtaposition. This is based on the presupposition that Dante built this symmetry into the poem as a whole, and expected…

Dante on the beach (and the migrants)

One of the most beautiful expressions of mankind’s common condition and destiny is in the second canto of Dante’s Purgatorio. It also represents Dante’s criticism of xenophobia and nativism, themes which resonate, most loudly, with us today. Canto 2 of Purgatorio is set on the beach between the funneled Hell and the conical Purgatory. It…