Purgatorio, Canto 7




Christina Isabelli is the department chair of modern languages and literature and a professor of Spanish linguistics at Gonzaga. Her areas of expertise are second language acquisition, Spanish applied linguistics, sociolinguistics, and foreign language teaching methodology.

Questions for Reflection

  • Who is Sordello and what is his connection to Virgil? Why might Dante the Poet give us these kinds of laudatory encounters between Virgil and the purgative souls?
  • This is the only time in the Comedy where Virgil names himself (7.7). What do you think the significance of this is for understanding this scene?
  • How does Virgil articulate his “sin” in terms of omission rather than commission (7.25-27)? How does he distinguish between being clothed by three “holy virtues” and yet being blameless (7.34-36)? Does this in any way shift our understanding of Limbo from Inferno 4?
  • How might we see the Valley of Princes depicted in this canto as a callback to the gardens of Limbo in Inferno 4?
  • The Valley of Princes takes on a distinctly Marian flavor. What does Mary have to do with these political leaders gathered together on the mountain of Purgatory?



  • Dr. Christina Isabelli
  • Gonzaga University
  • Run Time 9:52