Divine Comedy: Novel Summary: Purgatorio section 12- Purgatorio section 16

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Purgatorio section 12: Still on the First Terrace, Virgil urges Dante to hurry because he has been keeping pace with Oderisi who walks stooped low to the ground.  Virgil also points out the scenes of pride carved into the ground so that the stooped spirits will contemplate the consequences of pride as they walk.  The first scene depicts Satan's fall from Heaven.  Twelve scenes alternating between Biblical and classical mythology follow: Briareus, the Giants, Nimrod, Niobe, Saul, Arachne, Rehoboam, Eriphyle, Sennacherib, Cyrus, Holofernes, and Troy.  As Dante and Virgil begin their ascent from the First Terrace, an angel brushes Dante's forehead with its wing.  Dante finds the climb out of the Terrace easy and Virgil tells him that because the angel erased one of the P's from Dante's brow, the climb has become easier.  Dante compares the stairway that he and Virgil now mount with the stairway that leads to the church of San Miniato on the hilltop overlooking Florence.
Purgatorio section 13: Dante and Virgil emerge on the Second Terrace where the Envious serve their penance in Purgatory.  Although the ledge seems deserted, Dante hears voices singing the praises of fraternal love-the opposite of envy.  The first voice sings "Vinum non habent" (the words of Mary's appeal to Christ when the wine ran out at the wedding feast in Cana).  The second voice: "I am Orestes" (the words Pylades said to pretend to be his friend so that he, rather than the real Orestes, would be killed).  The third voice: "Love those by whom you have been hurt." Virgil directs Dante's attention to a group of spirits seated against the wall.  Nearly indistinguishable from the rock, these spirits wear haircloth cloaks that are the same color as the rocks and lean against each other like beggars.  Envious souls, these shades spend their time in Purgatory weeping because their eyes are sewn shut.  Dante meets Sapia, a woman from Siena who took pleasure in the misfortunes of others.  Sapia tells her story and asks Dante to pray for her when he returns to Earth.
Purgatorio section 14: Curious about his conversation with Sapia, two other spirits, Guido del Duca and Rinieri da Calboli, approach Dante and ask him who he is and where he is from.  Dante responds that he is from a town on the banks of the river that begins in Mount Falterona.  Guido realizes that Dante speaks of the river Arno and that Dante hasn't mentioned it by name because he is ashamed of his hometown.  The shade responds by delivering a blistering speech against the people that live along the Arno.  Guido compares the people from the upper regions of the Arno to the lower regions as follows: hogs, curs, dogs, and wolves.  Guido prophesies that his grandson will someday slaughter the people that live in the region of wolves.  Guido reveals that in life he was envious of anyone who appeared to be happy.  Finally, Guido laments the moral downfall of his Rinieri's descendants and the moral degradation of the Romagna region.  Moving away from these envious spirits, Dante hears voices singing examples of envy.  Virgil instructs Dante that these words should remind men of the glories of Heaven but instead Satan tempts humans to think only of life on Earth.
Purgatorio section 15: A strong light forces Dante to cover his face.  The light, however, persists and Virgil reminds Dante that his mortal senses are powerless against the approach of an angel.  The angel arrives and directs the travelers to the next terrace where the Wrathful reside.  As the poets leave the Envious, they hear the Fifth Beatitude, "Beati misericordes" (Blessed are the merciful).  Dante asks Virgil to explain this remark made by Guido when they were on the last terrace: "Sharing cannot have a part." Virgil explains that the value of material possessions decrease with sharing while the value of spiritual possessions increases with sharing-God pours out more love to everyone as more souls love Him.  A fuller explanation, Virgil concludes, will come from Beatrice.  As they reach the next terrace, Dante experiences several ecstatic visions in which he sees examples of virtue opposite the sin of wrath.  In the first vision, Dante sees a mother treating her son gently after she finds him amidst a crowded temple.  In the second vision, Dante sees a mother beg her husband to punish a boy who has embraced their daughter.  The father calms his wife by saying, "What shall we do to one who'd injured us if one who loves us earns our condemnation?" In his third vision, Dante sees a crowd stoning a man and shouting "Kill!" As the victim falls dead to the ground he prays to God to forgive his attackers.  Dante regains consciousness after the visions and Virgil reminds him that these visions are meant to deter him from wrath.  As the travelers eagerly continue their journey, a smoky cloud emerges before them.
Purgatorio section 16: The cloud of smoke burns Dante's eyes and irritates his skin.  Although Dante cannot see anything in the murky smoke he can hear the Wrathful souls asking for forgiveness and praying to God for peace by chanting "Angnus Dei." Hearing Dante and Virgil in conversation, the spirit of Marco Lombardo approaches and consents to guide the poets along this terrace.  Dante asks Marco about the cause of human corruption, "The world indeed has been stripped utterly of every virtue; as you said to me, it cloaks-and is cloaked by-perversity.  Some place the cause in Heaven, some, below; but I beseech you to define the cause, that, seeing it, I may show it to others." Marco responds that while some corruption can be blamed on the stars, men must take responsibility for their actions.  Men understand good and evil and have the free will to choose their path in life.  Thus, men must be held accountable for both their good and bad deeds.  Marco explains that men, born innocent and inexperienced, need guidance from their rulers through laws.  Rome once had two rulers-one that governed spiritual life while the other governed political life.  Marco blames the present state of moral decay in Italy on the fact that only one ruler governs both spheres of life.  Marco names three men who embody examples of ancient virtue: Currado da Palazzo, Gherardo, and Guido da Castello.

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