Paradiso Canto 15




Melissa Schubert is the Dean of the School of the Humanities and Social Sciences at Biola University. She taught for sixteen years in Torrey Honors College, teaching across its interdisciplinary curriculum, mentoring its dear students and gifted faculty, and serving as its Associate Director. Her research primarily investigates the dynamics of literature and theology in early modern English literature, and her interests range across genres, centuries, and practices that enrich the Christian life and imagination. 

Questions for Reflection

  • In the heaven of Mars Dante meets crusaders and righteous warriors, likening them to the martyrs. What do you think of this comparison? Does it still work in a contemporary Christian context? Is Dante ultimately celebrating war and violence or is he celebrating peace?
  • Dante’s main conversation partner in the heaven of Mars is his great-great-grandfather, Cacciaguida. Why might Dante choose to give us a father-son dynamic at this point in Paradiso (think back to Inferno 15)?
  • Dante likens his meeting with Cacciaguida with Aeneas meeting his father Anchises from Virgil’s Aeneid. Cacciaguida’s first words to Dante are all in Latin, another suggestion of Virgil’s influence. Why might Dante want us to associate Cacciaguida and Virgil with each other? How does this recall the way that Virgil fathered Dante’s moral and growth in the beginning of the Comedy?
  • What are Cacciaguida’s first words that Dante can understand (15.46-48)? How do these words tie the spiritual and personal journeys of Dante together?


  • Dr. Melissa Schubert
  • Biola University
  • Run Time 8:19