Dante’s Divine Comedy continues to be relevant to contemporary studies because it contains a mystery about the structure of the world. The images and ideas he creates are essential for learning something about oneself or the world. Each canto in work gradually reveals to the reader information about the purgatory Dante developed and offered a deeper insight into its atmosphere. Through the techniques of identification, alignment, and devotion, Dante introduces the reader to the hero, and what place he has in the world he is exploring.
The process of character identification is a search for the main differences between him and other people who are not of interest to the author of the work. Dante reveals a character about to sing of the second realm, purgatory. He tells the character as a man whose song and sound make the birds feel “The blow so great, that they despaired of pardon” (Dante 19). The reader sees how strong the character is in his will to comprehend the mystery of purgatory, which distinguishes him from others. The narrator indicates that he wants to “make them (spirits) fair” (Dante 37). The character’s understanding of his thoughts is evident in when he declares his mind. Dante demonstrates narrator powers, which he must carry into purgatory despite fatigue and exhaustion (Dante 59). The character is strong with his talent for singing and making other beings fair, his primary goal. Thus, identification allows seeing that the protagonist’s intelligence and talents are worthy of looking at purgatory from the inside.
Alignment is the process of showing a character’s inner world to readers and the opportunity to learn something about them. The Master addresses the narrator, “What is it to thee what they whisper there?” (“Purgatorio”). The reader understands that the character is concerned about what is happening in purgatory. His concern is evident earlier, when the character himself addresses the Master, “see there those who will give us counsel” (Dante 47). The narrator points out his imperfections and goes on to ask even more questions, which come to the reader’s mind as well. Thus, the reader sees a particular point of view of purgatory that expresses concern even for resting souls.
The narrator is seen as an understanding and sensitive person who is no stranger to the suffering of others. He asks the question, “Might then their expectation bootless be”, trying to determine the future fate of those caught in purgatory (“Purgatorio”). The reader sees, as does the character that others’ hopes remain in vain and cannot accept this. Dante allows a united opinion of the spirits and questions the Master’s justice.
The effect of loyalty is expressed through solidarity, which encourages the reader to agree with the character’s point of view. Allegiance is best revealed when the character is left only to “no avail // my hearing” for purgatory (“Purgatorio”). The reader hopes that the narrator will find a solution and break the vicious cycle of addiction. Next, the character meets the noble judge Nino and rejoices that at least one soul has been saved. This emotional connection and reaction encourage the reader to believe in the narrator. He changes and becomes a new person who can see much more. The Conductor guides him, and the character gratefully “throws himself at his feet” to comprehend an even greater mystery of purgatory (“Purgatorio”). Thus, allegiance is created through an emotional connection with a character who demonstrates his personal growth to the reader.
Thus, there are three critical categories of rapprochement with the character in Dante’s Purgatory. In the identification stage, he is revealed as a person capable of singing and carrying power. In the alignment stage, his concern and empathy cause the reader to agree with him. In the devotion stage, the reader is in full solidarity and wants the character to follow the intended path. These stages allow for a better analysis of Dante’s true intent and why Purgatory is so essential.
Dante, Alighieri. “Canto 1”. The Divine Comedy : Volume 2: Purgatorio. Oxford University Press, Incorporated, 1961.
Dante, Alighieri. “Canto 2”. The Divine Comedy : Volume 2: Purgatorio. Oxford University Press, Incorporated, 1961.
Dante, Alighieri. “Canto 3”. The Divine Comedy : Volume 2: Purgatorio. Oxford University Press, Incorporated, 1961.
Dante, Alighieri. “Canto 6”. The Divine Comedy : Volume 2: Purgatorio. Oxford University Press, Incorporated, 1961.
“Purgatorio (English). Dante Alighieri”. Best Poems Encyclopedia, 2019.