Canto 33: Forest of Eden — Purgation Completed
- What does Dante learn from the two spectacular pageants that he has just seen?
One of the important things that occur with Dante’s viewing of the two spectacular pageants is that his own history is tied in with a much larger history. Dante lives his own personal life, and he is living in a time in which important events are taking place. Like us, Dante is a part of history. Dante sees how the time that he is living in fits in with Church history. Our own individual lives are a part of something much larger than we are.
However, our personal lives are still important. Beatrice and Dante’s love for her are still important. Beatrice helps Dante to become saved. The personal and the universal are interwoven.
- Explain the prophecy that Beatrice makes in Canto 33.
Beatrice talks about the vision that Dante has just seen, and she makes a prophecy as the group walks toward the Eunoë stream.
Beatrice says that the chariot is a symbol of the Church:
“Know that the vessel which the serpent broke
Was, and is not; but let him who is guilty
Think that God’s vengeance does not fear a sop.”
In Canto 32, a “dragon” (line 131) broke the chariot. The Church “was,” Beatrice says, and the Church “is not” (Musa 33.35). At the present time (1300), the Church is not what God wants it to be.
However, Beatrice says that a hero will slay the harlot and the giant. In an obscure prophecy, she says,
“For verily I see, and hence narrate it,
The stars already near to bring the time,
From every hindrance safe, and every bar,
Within which a Five-hundred, Ten, and Five,
One sent from God, shall slay the thievish woman
And that same giant who is sinning with her.”
The shattered chariot stands for the Church, “which […] was, and is not” (Musa 33.34-35) — at least not as God meant it to be.
- What is the stream Eunoë, and why must Dante the Pilgrim drink of it?
When Dante appears before the second stream, he sees that both streams in the Earthly Paradise come from the same source.
Dante asks what the second stream is, and Beatrice replies, “Ask Matelda to explain” (Musa 33.118), and so we find out the name of the lady whom Dante first met in the Earthly Paradise.
The stream Eunoë revives the memory of the good deeds that one has done during life. If you were in kindergarten and you held the hand of another child who was frightened by his or her first day of kindergarten, you will remember that good deed no matter how many years have passed since you did it.
Here we see that Matelda’s job is to lead saved souls to drink from the streams of Lethe and Eunoë when they are ready. Beatrice tells Matelda:
“But Eunoe behold, that yonder rises;
Lead him to it, and, as thou art accustomed,
Revive again the half-dead virtue in him.”
Matelda then tells Statius to drink from the stream. We do not hear of Statius again in The Divine Comedy. Apparently, after he drinks from the stream, he rises to his appointed spot in the Mystic Empyrean. Dante will eventually get there, but he has much to learn from the saved souls in Paradise, and it will take him time to reach the dwelling place of God.
- Why is Dante now ready for the stars at the end of Canto 33?
From the most holy water I returned
Regenerate, in the manner of new trees
That are renewed with a new foliage,
Pure and disposed to mount unto the stars.
As with Infernoand Paradise, Purgatoryends with the word “stars.”
Dante has been reborn, or born again. His sins have been purged, confessed, repented, and forgiven. Now he is ready to journey to Paradise.
Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved
DANTE PDFs and LINKs
PURGATORY: CANTO 32 RETELLING
PURGATORY: CANTO 33 RETELLING
PARADISE: CANTO 1 RETELLING
PARADISE: CANTO 2 RETELLING
PARADISE: CANTO 3 RETELLING
PARADISE: CANTO 4 RETELLING
PARADISE: CANTO 5 RETELLING
PARADISE: CANTO 6 RETELLING
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INFERNO SMASHWORDS (EBOOKS)
PURGATORY KINDLE EBOOK
PURGATORY SMASHWORDS (EBOOKS)
PARADISE KINDLE EBOOK
PARADISE SMASHWORDS (EBOOKS)
DIVINE COMEDY KINDLE EBOOK
DIVINE COMEDY SMASHWORDS (EBOOKS)
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