How we cite our quotes:
And she [Beatrice]: “Had you been silent or denied
what you confess, your guilt would not be less
in evidence: it’s known by such a Judge!
But when the charge of sinfulness has burst
from one’s own cheek, then in our court the whet-
stone turns and blunts our blade’s own cutting edge.” (Purg. XXXI, 37-42)
Beatrice, as a spokesperson for God, shows the compassion that He would. Because Dante has willingly confessed his sins and feels shame for them, the blade of justice is “blunt[ed].” Notice, however, that his confession does not lessen Dante’s guilt; Dante is not made a more virtuous person by his confession; instead, it is God who is moved to show His mercy.