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Analysis

Literary Devices in Purgatorio

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Is it just us or does Matilda’s entrance in Canto XXVIII strongly mirror something we’ve heard before…where was it? Oh yeah. In the last canto. Matilda seems to be a foil (albeit,...

Setting

Dante doesn’t fool around when he’s imagining the settings for his Divine Comedy. So it should come as no surprise that he can practically give us the coordinates for the Mountain of Pu...

Narrator Point of View

It's pretty obvious that Purgatorio has first person narration. Dante says “I” all the time. In fact, it’s a very “me, me!” kind of text. Here, perhaps even more than...

Genre

Purgatorio is definitely an epic poem. It’s in verse. It rhymes (in the Italian). It’s about really big epic topics like life and death, good and evil, God and the immortal soul. Anothe...

Tone

Dante cares deeply about his subject matter – the improvement of man’s soul through penance and hard labor. He does not shirk from showing us how physically and emotionally difficult th...

Writing Style

Purgatorio is formal. There’s very little that’s easy and accessible about Dante’s style. By “formal,” we mean that Dante adheres to a very rigid literary form. In thi...

What’s Up With the Title?

Let’s start by stating the obvious: Purgatory is not only the setting, but also the subject matter of the second cantica of Dante’s Divine Comedy. The idea behind Purgatory is that no m...

What’s Up With the Ending?

Purgatorio ends on perhaps one of the best cliffhangers ever. Having grown so much spiritually during his journey through all seven terraces and finally receiving the final cleansing at the hands o...

Plot Analysis

Dante has been loosing his way. He needs to tour Hell so he can get back on the righteous path. (Inferno in its entirety)Dante needs help in a bad way because he is lost in a dark wood, symbolizing...

Booker’s Seven Basic Plots Analysis: The Quest

Lost in a dark wood… (Inferno Cantos I-II)Dante is at a major crossroads in his life. He is lost in a dark wood, allegory for deeply sunk into sin, and desperately in need of help. The three...

Three Act Plot Analysis

Ante-Purgatory: Dante and Virgil arrive on the shores of Purgatory. They meet Cato; at his command, Dante is outfitted with a new rush belt. As he makes his way through the four spurs of ante-Purga...

Trivia

Dante basically created Purgatory. He didn’t create the name or the idea, but he really coined all of the specifics: its location, its structure as a mountain with cornices and terraces and Earth...

Steaminess Rating

Compared to Inferno, Purgatorio is a lot less racy. Even on the terrace of the Lustful, there’s little reference to actual sex. The closest we get is a reference to Pasiphae, mother of the ha...

Allusions

Plato (Purg. IV, 1-12)Virgil, The Aeneid (Purg. XXI, 97)Dante Alighieri, La Vita Nuova (Purg. XXIV, 51)Beatrice Portinari (Purg. XXX, 73) - throughoutVirgin Mary (Purg. X, 50) – throughoutLea...
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