David Bruce: Dante’s PURGATORY: A Discussion Guide — “Canto 5: Prepurgatory — Those Who Repented While Meeting Violent, Sudden Deaths”

Canto 5: Prepurgatory — Those Who Repented While Meeting Violent, Sudden Deaths

  • Which group of repentant sinners does Dante run into in Canto 5 (the third class of the Late Repentant sinners)?

The third group of the Late Repentant consists of those who died a violent death but repented at the last minute. Of course, Manfred fits in well with this group, although he is with the excommunicated.

This group must wait to begin purging their sins. How long? As long as the time they lived. Manfred, of course, is with the excommunicated, and apparently he must wait a time at least as long as the time he was excommunicated.

  • Write a short character analysis of Buonconte of Montefeltro.

Many of the sinners in Antepurgatory have interesting relationships with sinners whom we saw in the Inferno. For example, the father of Buonconte of Montefeltro is Guido da Montefeltro. Their stories are very different.

Guido da Montefeltro thought that he was going to Paradise, and Saint Francis even came for his soul, but a black devil intervened and pointed out that Guido had not truly repented his sins. So at the last moment, his soul was snatched into Hell.

Buonconte of Montefeltro, however, called on Mary’s name at the last moment of his life, and so at the last moment he truly repented his sins and therefore he will eventually be in Paradise.

Note that Buonconte of Montefeltro was a Ghibelline, and he will make it into Paradise. Dante is not keeping his enemies out of Paradise.

By the way, “da” means “of.” Guido da Montefeltro means Guido of Montefeltro. In other words, the person meant is a Guido who lived in Montefeltro.

  • Compare the repentance of Buonconte of Montefeltro with the “repentance” of his father Guido in Inferno27.

Guido attempted to scam God with a fake repentance. Pope Boniface VIII scammed Guido into going back to his evil ways.

Buonconte’s repentance is sincere. He utters one sincere word with his last breath, and that is enough to save him. The devil that comes to collect Buonconte’s soul is angry and abuses his corpse, but the corpse is not important — the soul is.

By comparing and contrasting the “repentance” of Guido and the repentance of Buonconte, we are able to see how repentance works. Repentance must be sincere; no one gets away with trying to scam God.

This shows that you really have to read both Purgatoryand Paradisein addition to Inferno. Just reading the Infernowill not give you the whole story.

  • Do your family connections determine where you will end up in the afterlife?

We see Manfred in Prepurgatory and his father, Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II, in the Inferno.

We see Buonconte in Prepurgatory and his father, Guido, in the Inferno.

Both Manfred and Buonconte will be in Paradise one day.

Family connections do not determine whether you make it to Paradise. What does determine whether you make it to Paradise is whether you sincerely repent your sins.

  • Write a short character analysis of La Pia.

La Pia makes a big impact in six lines of speech:

“Oh, please, when you are in the world again,

and are quite rested from your journey here,”

a third soul, following on the second, said,

“Oh, please remember me! I am called Pia.

Siena gave me life, Maremma death,

as he knows who began it when he put

his gem upon my finger, pledging faith.”

(Musa 5.130-136)

La Pia is courteous. She wants Dante to remember her afterhe is rested from his journey. La Pia is simply a charming character.

  • Compare and contrast La Pia (Purgatory5) and Francesca (Inferno5).

Very often Dante will set up comparisons. Here Canto 5 in the Infernoand Canto 5 in the Purgatoryare meant to be compared and contrasted. La Pia and Francesca da Rimini are very different. This kind of linkage is deliberate on Dante’s part.

Similarities

  • Francesca da Rimini and La Pia are both women in the afterlife.
  • Francesca da Rimini and La Pia both appear in the 5th cantos of the canticle each appears in.
  • Francesca da Rimini and La Pia both speak elegantly.
  • Apparently, both Francesca da Rimini and La Pia were caught in adultery and killed by their husbands. Or in La Pia’s case, her husband thoughtshe was committing adultery and killed her.

Differences

  • A major difference, of course, is that La Pia sincerely repented her sins.
  • A major difference, of course, is that Francesca is in the Inferno, while La Pia is in Antepurgatory.
  • Francesca speaks about her husband and puts him in Caina — her message is that the SOB is going to get his. La Pia mentions her husband, but does not say what his sin is — apparently he thought that she was committing adultery and so he had her killed.
  • Francesca puts herself at the center of the universe, while La Pia is self-effacing. La Pia wants Dante to rest first, and then remember her.
  • Francesca uses many, many flowery, elegant words, while La Pia’s speech is elegant but very brief.

Note

Very few women speak in theInfernoand in the Purgatory. Francesca da Rimini spoke in the Inferno, and now in the Purgatorya second woman speaks in The Divine Comedy. Later, of course, Beatrice will speak many lines in the Purgatoryand the Paradise. Women will play a much greater role in the Forest of Eden at the top of the Mountain of Purgatory and in Paradise.

  • Many souls low in the Inferno do not want to reveal their names to Dante the Pilgrim, while many souls in Purgatory want to reveal their names to Dante. Why?

One reason, of course, is that souls in Purgatory will benefit from prayers that are said for them. We do pray for the souls of deceased loved ones, and if we are pure of heart, our prayers will be heard in Heaven.

Another reason is that the souls in the lowest circles of the Inferno do not want to be remembered for the great sins they have committed. The souls in Purgatory want their loved ones to know that the souls in Purgatory will make it to Paradise.

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Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

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PURGATORY: CANTO 2 RETELLING

https://davidbruceblog.wordpress.com/2017/02/04/dantes-purgatory-canto-2-retelling-ew-souls-arrive-in-purgatory/

PURGATORY: CANTO 3 RETELLING

https://davidbruceblog.wordpress.com/2017/02/05/dantes-purgatory-canto-3-retelling-prepurgatory-the-excommunicated/

PURGATORY: CANTO 4 RETELLING

https://davidbruceblog.wordpress.com/2017/02/06/dantes-purgatpry-canto-4-retelling-prepurgatory-the-spiritually-lazy-purgatory/

PURGATORY: CANTO 5 RETELLING

https://davidbruceblog.wordpress.com/2017/02/07/dantes-purgatory-canto-5-retelling-prepurgatory-those-who-repented-while-meeting-violent-sudden-deaths/

PURGATORY: CANTO 6 RETELLING

https://davidbruceblog.wordpress.com/2017/02/08/dantes-purgatory-canto-6-retelling-sordello/

PURGATORY: CANTO 7  RETELLING

https://davidbruceblog.wordpress.com/2017/02/09/dantes-purgatory-canto-7-retelling-prepurgatory-the-negligent-princes/

PURGATORY: CANTO 8 RETELLING

https://davidbruceblog.wordpress.com/2017/02/10/dantes-purgatory-canto-8/

PURGATORY: CANTO 9 RETELLING

https://davidbruceblog.wordpress.com/2017/02/11/dantes-purgatory-canto-9-retelling-prepurgatory-first-prophetic-dream-and-saint-peters-gate/

PURGATORY: CANTO 10 RETELLING

https://davidbruceblog.wordpress.com/2017/02/12/dantes-purgatory-canto-10-retelling-first-ledge-pride-purgatory/

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