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by Dante Alighieri

Purgatorio Theme of Suffering

The punishment of souls in Purgatory is different from that of those in Hell because these individuals actually have hope of a better existence. With their sweat and blood, they strive to be worthy of Heaven, while those in Hell wallow in their misery, with no hope of redemption. Penitent souls suffer in Purgatory as a way of cleansing themselves in preparation for going to Heaven.

Questions About Suffering

  1. How do the punishments in Purgatory differ from those in Hell?
  2. How does this difference relate to Hell’s and Purgatory’s divergent concepts of time?
  3. How do the souls in Purgatory react toward their punishments? Do they only feel suffering and pain?
  4. Does the notion of contrapasso, or punishment matched to the crime committed, still hold true in Purgatory’s punishments?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Although souls in Purgatory have hope of redemption, their punishments work in inherently the same way as in Hell because they still follow the rule of contrapasso.

The punishments in Purgatory differ fundamentally from Hell’s punishments because the penitents, unlike the sinners, take a certain amount of delight in their punishment, despite the pain.

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