The narrator reveals of his further journey that he continues his travels with Virgil. When they get to Purgatorio, its guard Cato greeted them coldly. Virgil explained who they were and, wishing to propitiate Cato, spoke warmly about his wife Marcia, so cold and taciturn Cato let them pass. They walked to the beach, it was necessary to wash and to get rid of soot of the abandoned Hell.
A canoe controlled by an angel floats from sea. It contains the souls of the dead, who were lucky enough not to get into Hell. They went ashore, and the angel flew away. The shadows of the arrivals crowded around them, and among them the narrator recognized his friend, a singer Kozell. He wanted to hug him, but in fact a shadow is disembodied. Kozell sang about love, everyone listened, but then Cato came and shouted at everyone they all hurried to the mountain of Purgatory.
Now they need to scout the upcoming road. The shadows have just noticed that the narrator is not a shadow: he does not let the light pass through. Virgil explained everything, and the shadows invited them to follow. So they hurry to the foot of the purgatorial mountain. Here at the great stone is a group of not hurrying to climb upstairs, saying that they have plenty of time. Among these sloths the narrator recognized his friend Belakva. It's nice to see that, as at lifetime, he is an enemy of haste, true to himself.
In the foothills of Purgatory the narrator has an opportunity to communicate with the shadows of victims of violent death. Many of them were pretty wicked, but parting with life, had sincerely repented and therefore did not get into Hell. That's a shame for the devil, who had lost so many souls! He, however, found a revenge: without gaining power over the soul of the repentant sinner who was killed, he abused his murdered body.
Not far they saw the majestic shadow of Sordello. He and Virgil recognizing in each other fellow-poet, embraced like brothers. The narrator shout that it is an example to Italy, dirty brothel, where the bonds of brotherhood severed completely!
Sordello agreed to be their guide to Purgatory. It is a great honor for him to help Honourable Virgil. Sedately talking, they came to the blossoms of fragrant valley, where, in preparation for the night, the shadows of European sovereigns settled. They watched them from afar, listening to their singing. Then the evening came and a treacherous serpent of temptation crept into the valley, but angels expelled it.
The narrator lay down on the grass and fell asleep and in a dream was carried to the gates of Purgatory. The angel who was protecting it, inscribed seven times on his forehead the same letter - the first in the word "sin" (the seven deadly sins, the letters will be erased one by one from the narrator’s forehead as he ascent the purgatorial mountain). They entered the second realm, the gates closed behind them.
The climbing started. They are in the first round of Purgatory, where the proud atone for their sins. In the shame of pride here are erected the statues embodying the idea of a high feat - humility. And here are the shadows of the purifying proud: here, as a punishment for their sins, they bend under the weight of piled boulders.
"Our Father ..." - this prayer sung the bent proud. Among them is miniaturist Oderiz, who when alive was very proud of his loud glory. Now he realized that there is nothing to boast about: everyone is equal in the face of death. The sooner one understands and finds the strength to curb their pride, the better.
Under their feet the travelers see reliefs with imprinted scenes of punished pride: the overthrow of Lucifer from heaven, King Saul, Holofernes, and others. Their stay in the first round ends. The appeared angel wipe from the narrator’s forehead one of the seven letters as a sign that the sin of pride is overcome.
They climbed to the second round. Here are envious, they are temporarily blinded, their former "envious” eyes do not see anything. Here is a woman, who out of jealousy wished harm to her fellow countrymen and was pleased with their failures. In this round the narrator after his death will be cleaned not for long, because rarely envied anybody. But in the passed proud circle - probably for a long time. In the silence thunderously sounded Cain, the first envious. In fear, the narrator clung to Virgil, and the wise leader told that the bitter words, that the supreme eternal light is beyond envious, thrilled by earthly baits.
Thay passed the second round. Again, an angel appeared, and only five letters were left on the forehead, which the narrator will get rid of in future. They are in the third round. Before their eyes flashed cruel vision of human rage (mob hammered with stones some gentle young man). In this circle obsessed with anger are being cleared.
Even in the darkness of Hell was no such a black haze as in this circle, where the fury of anger is being humbled. One of them, Mark Lombard, talked with the narrator and suggested that they can not all understand what is happening in the world as a consequence of the activities of the higher celestial powers: this would mean denial of the freedom of the human will and take away the responsibility for their actions.
The narrator felt the touch of the angel wings - another letter was erased. They went up into the fourth round illuminated by the last ray of sunset. Here lazy are being cleared, whose love for the good has been slow.
The lazy are here to run fast, not allowing any indulgence of their lifetime sin. Let them be inspired by the example of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who has to rush. They ran past the travelers and disappeared. The narrator wants to sleep. He is sleeping and dreaming. He dreamed some disgusting woman, who in front of his eyes turned into a beautiful woman, who was immediately confounded and turned into even uglier creature (here it is, the imaginary attractiveness of vice).
Another letter disappeared from his forehead: it means he conquered laziness. They rise into the fifth round - to misers and spenders. Greed for gold is a disgusting vice. Molten gold has been once poured into the throat of one possessed by greed: drink to your health! The narrator was uncomfortable in the environment of misers, and here the earthquake happened. It turned out, shaking the mountain caused rejoicing over the fact that one of the souls has purified and was ready for the ascent: it is the Roman poet Statius, Virgil’s fan, glad that from now on he will accompany the travelers on the road to the top of the purgatorial mountain.
Another letter designating the sin of avarice was wiped off the forehead. By the way, was Statius, suffering in the fifth round, stingy? On the contrary, wasteful, but these two things are punished the same. Now they are in the sixth round, where the gluttons are being cleared. There must be remembered that Christian ascetics were not peculiar to gluttony.
Former glutton are destined to endure hunger pangs: they are emaciated, skin and bones. Among them the narrator found his late friend and countryman Foretz. He told him of Virgil and of the hopes to see in the next world his beloved Beatrice.
With one of the gluttons, the former poet of the old school, the narrator had a conversation about literature. He admitted that his supporters, supporters of the "sweet new style," reached in the love poetry much more than he himself and those close to him masters. Meanwhile penultimate letter from his forehead is erased, and he opened the way to the top, into the seventh circle of Purgatory.
And the narrator still remembers the lean, hungry gluttons: how did they emaciate so much? After all, they are shadows, not the bodied. Virgil said: shadows, though incorporeal, imply repeated outlines of bodies (which would have emaciated without food). Here, in the seventh round, the sensualists are being cleared in the burning fire. They burn, sing and glorify examples of abstinence and chastity.
Covered with flames sensualists are divided into two groups: homosexuals and not knowing measures bisexuals. Among the latter are the poets Guido Guinizelli and Provencal Arnald, who elegantly greeted the travellers in his dialect.
And now they have to pass through a wall of fire. The narrator is scared, but his mentor said that it was the path to Beatrice (to the earthly paradise, located on the top of the purgatorial mountain). And so the three of them are walking burning by flames. Passing it they go further. It is evening, they stopped to rest, and when the narrator woke up, Virgil came to with the last word of farewell and approval.
They are in an earthly paradise, in blossom, in the filled with the twittering of birds grove. The narrator saw a beautiful Donna, singing and collecting flowers. She said that there was a golden age, but then, among the flowers and fruits, was ruined in the sin the happiness of the first people. Hearing this, the narrator looked at Virgil and Statius: both were smiling blissfully.
Past them sail the living lights, beneath them march righteous old men in white robes, crowned with roses and lilies, wonderful beauties are dancing. The narrator could not look enough at this marvelous picture. And suddenly he saw her - the one he loves. Shaken, the narrator made an involuntary movement, as if trying to pull over to Virgil. But he was gone and the narrator began to sob. "Dante, Virgil will not return. But you have not cry for him. Look at me, I'm Beatrice! How did you get here?"- she asked angrily. Then a voice asked her why she was so hard with the narrator. She answered that he was unfaithful to her after her death. The narrator fainted and woke up immersed in Lethe – a river giving oblivion to the committed sins. After ten years of separation, the narrator looked into her eyes, and his vision faded from their glare. Receive the sight, he saw a lot of beauty in an earthly paradise, but then the sight was replaced by cruel visions of monsters, profane holy things, debauchery.
Beatrice mourned knowing how many bad was in these visions revealed to them, but expressed confidence that the forces of good would ultimately triumph over evil. They have come to Evnoe river, sipping from which one strengthens the memory of the committed good. Statius and the narrator bathed in the river. A swallow of its sweetest water poured into him new strength. Now he was clean and worthy to rise to the stars.