| Quote #4
Beseeching, thus, good penitence for us
Dante’s point here is that a penitent soul's punishment is exactly tailored to fit his vices, just like the sinners’ punishments in Hell. God assigns each soul “his own degree of suffering” in accordance with Divine Justice. So the suffering that each soul undergoes is fair and is no more than he deserves. Of course, Purgatory is built on this idea of Divine Justice. In the first terrace, this justice means that each soul drags around a different amount of weight on its back, but each individual is appropriately bent over so that his eyes face the ground in a gesture of humility – a fitting punishment for excessive pride.
| Quote #5
[Omberto Aldobrandeschi]: “And were I not impeded by the stone
Here, Omberto emphasizes the just nature of his suffering. In the last line, he says, “I bear / this burden here among the dead because / I did not bear this load among the living.” This is the exact nature of punishment here in Purgatory; one repents for what one has done wrong in life and then works to correct it in the afterlife. Omberto suffers for his “scorn” and “arrogance” that he thought befitted him as a nobleman in life. One of the consequences of being proud is shown here, in the first few lines: Omberto cannot lift his head to look at Dante because his punishing weights keep his face firmly fixed downward. Thus, he is so shamed that he cannot even bring himself to the same level as a normal standing man.
| Quote #6
Those souls – it seemed – were cloaked in coarse haircloth;
For allowing their eyes to wander to others’ possessions in life, the Envious are forced into blindness in the afterlife. Their eyes are sewn shut by “iron wires” so that they need to lean on each other for support. As a result of their blindness, the Envious cannot see the greatest gift of all – the light of Heaven – until they purge themselves of their vice.