Paradiso Canto 1




Doug Henry is the Dean of the Honors College at Baylor University. His academic interests covers authors from Plato to Pope John Paul II, and he is the author of The Schooled Heart: Moral Formation in American Higher Education.

Questions for Reflection

  • What do the opening lines of Paradiso tell us about what the poem is about? How is this different from the openings of Inferno and Purgatorio?
  • How does Dante indicate the failure of poetry to represent adequately the vision of heaven that the pilgrim has had in lines 1-9? Why might it be so important for Dante to highlight this limitation of his poetry?
  • How does Dante hope his poem will help people pray better (1.34-36)? What relationship between prayer, praise, and poetry has Dante been developing over the course of the Comedy so far?
  • What does Dante begin to become as he stares at Beatrice (1.67-72)? How is it possible for another human being to have this effect? Is this theologically risky or is Dante giving us a fuller sense of the human person than we typically have?
  • How does God intentionally order the universe, as Beatrice explains it (1.106-114)? How might this divine ordering be related to the “gloria” with which Paradiso opens?


  • Dr. Doug Henry
  • Baylor University
  • Run Time 10:24