Purgatori, Canto 21




Ger Wegemer is a Professor of English at the University of Dallas. His research interests include Shakespeare, Thomas More, and the English Renaissance, and he is the author of Young Thomas More and the Arts of Liberty and Thomas More on Statesmanship.

Questions for Reflection

  • What story from the Gospels does Dante echo at the opening of this canto? How does this gospel narrative frame the canto?
  • Dante surprises us by including another pagan poet, Statius, in Purgatory. Dante introduces us to Statius by comparing him to Christ on the road to Emmaus story from the gospel of Luke. What does this tell us about Dante’s understanding of the relationship between the souls in Purgatory and Christ?
  • Does Dante the Poet have the right to save pagan figures like Statius? 
  • According to Statius, why did the mountain shake in the previous canto (21.57-60)? What does this show us about the community on the Mountain? How does it contrast with the “community” of Inferno?
  • How does a soul in purgatory know that it is ready to ascend to God (21.61-66)?
  • How did Statius become a poet? (94ff)?  


  • Dr. Ger Wegemer
  • University of Dallas
  • Run Time 8:09