Purgatorio, Canto 28




Jane Kim is an Assistant Professor of Classics in the Torrey Honors College at Biola University. She is an expert on the influence of Dante’s poetic theology on British Romantic conceptions of the poet and poetry.

Questions for Reflection

  • The first word of this canto is Vago (“eager”). This ties Dante directly to Ulysses (Inferno 26) as one “eager for adventure.” Why is Dante recalling Ulysses yet again as he explores Eden?
  • Matelda gives an account of Eden to Dante, Virgil, and Statius in lines 90ff. What kind of language does she use to describe Eden? How does Eden compare with the gardens of Limbo in Inferno 4? How are they similar and in what ways do they differ?
  • What does Virgil learn that makes him smile? Why might it be significant that Virgil smiles in this canto (28.147)? When was the last time we saw him smile? Does this suggest any kind of moral and spiritual growth in Virgil?
  • How do all of the trees of our world point us back to Eden (28.109-117)? What does this imply about the way Dante believes we should “read” the world as a sign that points us to God?
  • The tree of life is surrounded by water on two sides. What is the purpose of each river?


  • Dr. Jane Kim
  • Torrey Honors College
  • Run Time 8:28