The Divine Comedy Trilogy
Exiting from Hell, one emerges on a flat and reed-grown seashore, with the mass of Mount Purgatory looming above. If one
emerges at night, in the southern sky is a cross of four particularly noticeable stars that light up the whole sky. People
are present by the exit from Hell, mostly those who guide souls up into Purgatory, and know what it is. They will challenge
those who emerge, and if the emergees do not show proper reverence to God, and that they come here by His will, who knows
what may happen?
Along the shore, up the steep slope are shady places where, enough dew remains to wash away the stains of Hell from the
emergees. As dawn rises, an angel comes to the shore. It is at first visible as a bright white light moving swiftly over
the sea, out of the dawn. As it approaches it can be seen to be standing on a boat, which leaps lightly over the waves,
leaving scarcely a ripple behind it, propelled by the angel's outstretched, motionless wings, with no sails or oars. The
angel is sufficiently glorious that mortal eyes shrink from it. The boat which the angel pilots carries a hundred souls to
purgatory. They sing 'In exitu Israel de Aegypto' as the boat carries them along. The angel brings its boat to the shore and
disembarks the souls there, blessing each one as they step onto the shore. With all of its souls off-loaded, the angel sails
away again in search of more souls to bring here.
Several scenes such as this one above continue to be experienced by Dante on his travel through the different terraces of Purgatory:
• The First Terrace - The Proud
• The Second Terrace - The Envious
• The Third Terrace - The Wrathful
• The Fourth Terrace - The Slothful
• The Fifth Terrace - The Avaricious
• The Sixth Terrace - The Gluttonous
• The Seventh Terrace - The Lustful
At the end, a woman appeared out of the cloud of flowers, crowned with olive branches, from which a white veil hung,
wearing a green mantle over a flame-red gown. This is Beatrice, Dante's new guide.
It was at this point that Dante noticed that although Statius was present, Virgil had disappeared, his work in escorting
Dante here completed. Virgil being unable to go any further towards Heaven, or see any further ahead, he had departed. It is
not entirely clear what becomes of Virgil after this; presumably he returns to Limbo, in Hell...
Dante recognizes Beatrice from when she was alive on Earth, and cannot help but stare. She reproves him for this rudeness.
Those in the procession sing "In te Domine speravi", and Dante weeps in anguish at the shame of this. Members of the procession
ask Beatrice why Dante is being chastised, and she tells them that it is because he spurned her in life, and fell so far that
only his seeing Hell could save him, and that Dante himself requires repentance before he can enter Heaven. Hearing this,
Dante eventually admits his sin, and his error, confessing all.
By now the procession has ceased strewing flowers over Beatrice, and Dante is almost hypnotised by her, suddenly finding
himself immersed in the stream (the Lethe) up to his neck. Beatrice baptises him in the stream, and he drinks of it before
emerging on the far side (where the procession is) and being embraced by the purple-clad nymphs (who are Beatrice's handmaids),
one after another, before they lead him to Beatrice who is now standing by the griffin, un-veiled. He sees the griffin
reflected in her eyes as the other three nymphs dance around him to an angelic choir.
Please click on the afterlife names below to read about each of the feature movies: