Divine Comedy: Paradiso Quotes


“Open your mind to what I shall disclose, and hold it fast within you; he who hears, but does not hold what he has heard, learns nothing.”


The narrator is invited on an honorable tour of the heavens. He is admonished by his guides to continue with an open-mind, without ever forgetting what he sees. He's warned that the path of the fool is to forget what he's seen.

“From a little spark may burst a flame.”


Dante draws upon Scripture and Christian teaching to craft his epic exploration of the afterlife. This excerpt draws a direct parallel to James 3:5 in which the author describes the explosive power of words.

“'If you, free as you are of every weight
had stayed below, then that would be as strange
as living flame on earth remaining still.'

And then she turned her gaze up toward the heavens.”


Beatrice explains to the narrator that the only thing preventing everyone from ascending is sin. The literal weight of sin on the soul keeps it upon the Earth. Her intent is always directed upward, in ascension. She teaches the narrator to turn his gaze upward as well, to direct his soul toward enlightenment.

“God is the love that moves the sun and stars.”


The Apostle John questions the narrator about the nature of love. He is satisfied with the response which indicates both the authority of love and its innate attribution to God. In the heavens, God's love is the only source of power, which means it keeps the universe existing in stasis, sustaining all life.

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