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Written by Timothy Sexton
The Path to Salvation
Purgatory is the road to salvation. It is the place where condemned souls still find the opportunity for repentance of their souls and resurrection of their hopes to avoid eternal damnation in the inferno of hell which was previously outlined and describe by the author. Purgatory is a mountain at the summit of which can be the Garden of Eden which signifies not a washing away of sins, but an absence of sin. That goal of Purgatory, then, is a quest to attain pure state of innocence.
Sin is a Tainted Love
The underlying thematic conception of sin that is the centerpiece of the topographical layout of Purgatory is love. Pride is a perverse form of the love of oneself while envy a corruption love for something that someone else possesses, for instance. The ways in which love is sinfully misdirected in committing the deadly sins of lust, sloth and greed on the other hand are fairly obvious and is the way in which they are related to love gone wrong different from the others. All the many ways in which one commits those Seven Deadly Sins addressed on the terraces of Purgatory can be characterized as manifestations of tainted love.
History and Politics
The purgation of one’s sins on the terraces representing the Seven Deadly Sins is achieved through narrative representations of the exhibitions of those sins throughout history. While the Bible supplies a health helping of these visual lessons in morality, for every reminder that of Cain killing Abel is a reminder from human history like King Charles of II of Naples pimping his daughter. The choices made by Dante of which historical figures to include are not random and reflect the vital important of having great political sensibility when writing epic poetry in an era of cruelly authoritarian theocratic rule.
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