Tuesday, July 24, 2012

THE PURGATORIO (THE DIVINE COMEDY) by DANTE ALIGHIERI (translated by John Ciardi)

072412. tuesday.

following Inferno, Purgatorio is the pitstop before Dante reaches Paradiso. this book is a voyage through the catharsis of a sinner’s soul, hence the title Purgatorio. if in Inferno souls suffer to pay for their sins, here, the spirits have to undergo torment in order to get the purification they need to be accepted in Paradiso.


Purgatorio is basically a mountain that has ledges which represent each sin.  in each ledge, Dante, still with his guide Virgil, witnesses two things that are part of the whole cleansing process. he sees the WHIP of sin and the REIN of sin afterwards. on the one hand, whip illustrates examples of beings who did the opposite of the sin showing images of good character. on the other hand, rein demonstrates acts of souls who committed the said sin. here, he also meets and talks to souls who submit themselves to purging.

what i like about this book is the idea of how even the little details are so connected and consistent to the bigger picture. i think it’s ingenious. HAHA. for instance, Purgatorio is found between hell and heaven. hell only has darkness(night). in paradise, the sun is up every day. thus, Purgatorio has both night and day. also, Dante can only keep ascending to the mountain when it’s day. there are other things that are also like this. HAHA.


just like Inferno, it wasn’t that easy to understand the content of each stanza in this book. as a poem, the story wasn’t told in a direct manner. it’d always be about digging deeper to what Dante actually wants to convey. and since it’s been written a long, long time ago, it’s in the context of that era. meaning, it is based on what people believe and think during those times. and some people see some things differently from then and now. HAHA.

i hate it when there are mentions of stars, zodiacs or constellations because i don’t comprehend any of them. even when there are explanations already, my understanding never gets any better. i tried but i just don’t seem to have a thing with astrology. HAHA.

Dante has shown more curiosity in Purgatorio than in Inferno. his questions here are mostly about the possibility of some occurrences, particularly regarding the soul’s state and the nature’s conditions. and i am amused by his hunger to know and understand.

CURIOSITY.

after reading, one of the things i realized is how reason cannot at all times be used, and that some things should be left  unsaid, without questions of how or why. sometimes, reason is not enough to enlighten our minds with everything that bothers us. this is shown when the character of Virgil, the epitome of human reason, reached his limit as Dante’s adviser.

last comes Paradiso, a tale so surely full of love and happiness. i am halfway through. can’t wait to finish The Divine Comedy.


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