Yet it's audience is often restricted to academics or those with the time to do the necessary research to understand the poem.
Dante Alighieri: Universalism
Afterlife - An Introduction to Dante's Inferno is David Lafferty's exploration of Inferno for those of us who want to an understandable, enjoyable introduction to this amazing literary masterpiece. Lafferty takes us into the world of Hell Inferno , the most accessible of the three books of the Divine Comedy. It's a terrifying journey, enhanced by a collection of images depicting the various characters and scenes in Inferno. The book also includes introductory material as well as pointing out much of the symbolism and allegory of the poem.
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by Dante Alighieri
David Lafferty. Now I shall sing the second kingdom there where the soul of man is cleansed, made worthy to ascend to Heaven. Here from the dead let poetry rise up, O sacred Muses, since I am yours.
Here let Calliope arise At the shores of Purgatory, Dante and Virgil meet Cato, a pagan who has been placed by God as the general guardian of the approach to the mountain his symbolic significance has been much debated. The Purgatorio demonstrates the medieval knowledge of a spherical Earth, with Dante referencing the different stars visible in the Southern Hemisphere, the altered position of the sun, and the various timezones of the Earth.
For instance, at the start of Canto II, the reader learns that it is dawn in Purgatory; Dante conveys this concept by explaining that it is sunset at Jerusalem antipodal to the Mount of Purgatory , midnight six hours later over India on the River Ganges with the constellation Libra overhead there , and noon six hours earlier over Spain. The journey is conceived as taking place during the vernal equinox, when the days and nights are of the same length.
In a contrast to Charon's ferry across the Acheron in the Inferno , Christian souls are escorted by an Angel Boatman from their gathering place somewhere near Ostia, the seaport of Rome at the mouth of the Tiber, through the Pillars of Hercules across the seas to the Mountain of Purgatory.
In his Letter to Cangrande , Dante explains that this reference to Israel leaving Egypt refers both to the redemption of Christ and to "the conversion of the soul from the sorrow and misery of sin to the state of grace". The poets begin to climb in the early hours of morning.
On the lower slopes designated as "Ante-Purgatory" by commentators , Dante and Virgil encounter two main categories of souls whose penitent Christian life was delayed or deficient: the excommunicate and the late repentant. The former are detained at the base of the cliff for a period thirty times as long as their period of contumacy. The excommunicate include Manfred of Sicily.
Purgatorio - Wikipedia
Manfred explains that prayer from those currently alive and in the grace of God may reduce the amount of time a soul spends in purgatory. The Late-Repentant includes 1 those too lazy or too preoccupied to repent the Indolent , 2 those who repented at the last minute without formally receiving last rites, as a result of violent deaths, and 3 the Negligent Rulers.
These souls will be admitted to Purgatory thanks to their genuine repentance, but must wait outside for an amount of time equal to their lives on earth.
The lazy include Belacqua possibly a deceased friend of Dante , whom Dante is relieved to discover here, rather than in Hell. The meeting with Belacqua is over by noon Canto IV. Also in this category is the troubadour Sordello who, like Virgil, is from Mantua. When Sordello discovers the great poet's identity, he bows down to him in honour.