Purgatorio, Canto 9




Phil Donnelly is an Associate Professor of Literature in the Great Texts Department at Baylor University. He is an expert in Renaissance literature and the reception of Classical educational traditions, and he is the author of Milton’s Scriptural Reasoning: Narrative and Protestant Toleration.

Questions for Reflection

  • What is Dante’s dream? What does it represent having happened in the “real life” of the poem? Where have we seen St. Lucy before? Why does Dante give St. Lucy such an important role in Purgatory?
  • What must Dante do to cross through the Gate of Purgatory proper? Why might this not involve the use of verbal confession?
  • What do the different color steps represent? What do the seven P’s represent?
  • What is Dante’s first auditory experience of Purgatory propre? How does this contrast with his first experience of hell?
  • What is the first song that Dante seems to hear in Purgatory? Why make the first song of the penitential be a song of praise? How is praise related to penance?


  • Dr. Phil Donnelly
  • Baylor University
  • Run Time 10:45