Purgatorio, Canto 31




Janelle Aijian is an Assistant Professor in the Torrey Honors College at Biola University. She studies the philosophy of religion, skepticism and spirituality, and the vice of acedia.

Questions for Reflection

  • Beatrice’s words reach Dante like the point of a sword. How does this image recall Christ (31.1-3)?
  • Does Dante confess (31.13-21)? How does his confession recall Buonconte in Purgatorio. 5?
  • How does Beatrice present herself as a sign of God (31.22-24)?
  • Why might Dante describe himself as a child in 64-69? Why describe Beatrice as a mother?
  • How does line 96 contrast to Charon’s boat in Inferno 3?
  • How do the cardinal virtues (the four girls) lead Dante to Beatrice’s eyes, and why does he need the theological virtues to “look much deeper into things” (103-111)?
  • What is Dante indicating when he places Beatrice standing close to the breast of the griffin (31.112-114)?
  • What does Dante suggest when he describes seeing the griffin reflected in Beatrice’s eyes (31.120)? What might Dante be saying about what it means to be a Christian?


  • Dr. Janelle Aijian
  • Torrey Honors College
  • Run Time 7:15