Paradiso Canto 31




Greg Roper is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Dallas. He studies Middle English literature, rhetoric and composition, literary theory, and pedagogy, and he leads the Shakespeare in Italy program.

Questions for Reflection

  • The souls of the blessed “sing the glory of Him who stirs their love” (31.5). How does this connect us back to the opening lines of Paradiso 1 and 10?
  • When Dante looks upon the faces of the blessed, he sees them “informed” by heavenly love (31.49). Given the discourse on form and matter from canto 29, what does this mean about the theological significance of the human person?
  • Why does Dante suddenly remove Beatrice as his guide and replace her with Bernard of Clairvaux? What does Dante have to learn from Bernard that he can’t learn from Beatrice?
  • Why is our final sight of Beatrice the double image of her smiling at Dante and then turning to gaze upon the vision of God (31.92-93)? What does this show us about the purpose of Beatrice (and, by extension, every baptized person)?
  • As Dante and Bernard gaze up at Mary, their love and affection increase as they are shared. What does this tell us about the logic of love? How does this character of heaven reveal how much Hell is a parody of heaven?


  • Dr. Greg Roper
  • University of Dallas
  • Run Time 13:00