Purgatorio, Canto 16




Patrick Burke is a professor of philosophy at Gonzaga University. He is an expert of contemporary French philosophy, and he is the author of he Barbarian Principle: Merleau-Ponty, Schelling, and the Question of Nature.

Questions for Reflection 

  • Why does Dante depict wrath as a plague of darkness? 
  • Juxtaposing the vice of wrath with the hymn Agnus Dei (taken from John 1:29: “Behold the lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world”) is intriguing. What does Dante’s use of the crucifixion here tell us about the way he understands wrath and its countering virtue, mercy? (16.19-21).
  • Why do you think Dante tells us that the wrathful penitents sing the Agnus Dei “with one voice and intonation” (16.20)?
  • Why does Dante not believe in fate (16.67-76)? 
  • What is the relationship between politics and the soul (16.100-114)?


  • Dr. Patrick Burke
  • Gonzaga University
  • Run Time 8:54