| Quote #1
[Piccarda]: "Brother, the power of love appeases our
All of Piccarda's talk about love is really a discussion about free will. The souls in the heaven of the moon, do not "desire a sphere higher than ours / [because] then our desires would be discordant with / the will of Him." This really means that the blessed souls have aligned their free wills to God's will. This becomes clear later when she talks about "keeping to the boundaries of God's will / through which our wills become one single will." Because God wills what is just, when the blessed align their wills to His, they have no need for "thirst[ing] for greater blessedness" because they have gotten exactly what they want and deserve.
| Quote #2
[Beatrice]: "That which Timaeus said in reasoning
One of Dante's doubts, spurred by seeing inconstant souls on the moon, is that if souls originate from these stars, live according to their faults, and return to them at death, the stars basically ordain human life and threaten the concept of free will. This theory had been published before by Timaeus, a Greek philosopher. Here, Beatrice dismisses Dante's fear, implying that the stars do not predestine human life, but only influence it. In light of what we know so far, though, these stars have a somewhat unwelcome influence over human lives.
| Quote #3
[Beatrice]: "If violence means that the one who suffers
Here we learn that some forms of free will are better or more "intact" than others. Those with perfect free will learn to stand up for what is right. Beatrice cites St. Lawrence, an early proponent of Christianity in the days of old pagan Rome, who is said to have willingly "held…fast to the grate" when he was grilled alive by Emperor Valerian for his beliefs. Mucius, who tried to assassinate Porsena for besieging Rome and was punished by being burnt alive, willingly thrust his hand into the fire while unwaveringly telling Porsena that he would eventually be killed by Romans. These two figures are exemplars of perfectly intact free will.