Divine Comedy: Novel Summary: Purgatorio section 32- Paradiso section 3
Purgatorio section 32: Transfixed by Beatrice's gaze, Dante emerges from his trance only by the dancing ladies. Dante compares his vision to that of a person who has looked directly at the sun. As the procession begins to move again, Dante and Statius take positions with Matilda at the wheel of the chariot. The marchers circle a tree and, after Beatrice steps to the ground, they connect the chariot to the tree. Bursts of beautiful blossoms spring from the tree. As the marchers begin to sing a hymn, Dante falls asleep under the tree. When he awakens, Dante finds himself alone with Beatrice and her maids. Guarding the chariot, Beatrice tells Dante to watch what is about to happen with care and to write about it when he returns to Earth. An eagle emerges from the sky and attacks the tree, dropping feathers on the chariot. Beatrice scares off a fox that tries to enter the chariot then a dragon emerges from the ground and breaks the chariot. Feathers cover the remains of the chariot that sprouts seven horned heads. A whore takes a seat upon the chariot then a giant joins her. The giant kisses the harlot passionately but then beats her when he sees her attention turn to Dante. Angrily, the giant pulls the chariot away and into the woods.
Purgatorio section 33: Beatrice's maids weep over the destruction of the chariot but Beatrice tells Dante, Matilda, and Statius to follow her. Dante tells Beatrice that he won't ask her any questions because she already knows what is proper for him to understand. Beatrice admonishes Dante to dismiss his shame and fear. Beatrice prophesies that God will instruct an avenger who will slay the whore and the giant. Beatrice assures Dante that her words will soon become clear. Dante vows to tell his story with clarity. Beatrice asks Matilda to lead Dante to the river Eunoe. As Dante and Statius prepare to enter Heaven, Dante states, "From that most holy wave I now returned to Beatrice; remade, as new trees are renewed when they bring forth new boughs, I was pure and prepared to climb into the stars."
Paradiso section 1: Dante has seen God in all His glory but finds it difficult to articulate his experience as he begins the last of his three canticles on Heaven. Dante invokes the assistance of Apollo to help him in this task. The sun stands at high noon during the vernal equinox when Dante and Beatrice make their ascent from Purgatory to Heaven. Beatrice and Dante turn to look directly into the flaming sun. Dante can barely endure the brightness as he turns to face Beatrice. As he gazes upon his beloved he becomes "transhumanized"-he loses his physical body. Upon reaching the Sphere of Fire, wonderful music and extreme brightness surround the travelers. Beatrice explains that Dante's soul moved toward God so quickly because everything has a natural tendency to return to the point from which it came.
Paradiso section 2: Using a nautical metaphor, Dante advises his readers to follow him closely on this journey through Heaven. Dante and Beatrice arrive in the Sphere of the Moon as quickly as an arrow. Dante wonders how he can enter the opaque mass that surrounds them in this sphere. After deliberating on the subject, Dante decides that this phenomenon may help explain Christ's incarnation. Dante asks Beatrice to explain the cause of the dark spots on the moon. Beatrice responds by asking Dante to first assert his own theory on the topic. Dante proposes that the density of the moon varies across the surface. In refuting Dante's theory, Beatrice raises several detailed and complex counterpoints and proposes an experiment using mirrors to refute Dante's variable density idea. Instead, Beatrice explains that the energy and light emitted by God travel through the universe uniformly but hit heavenly bodies differently depending on the nature of the mass. Thus, Beatrice asserts, the differences depend on quality rather than on quantity, as Dante had argued.
Paradiso section 3: The cloudy faces of seven spirits appear in the haze and motion that they wish to speak with Dante. One of the spirits identifies herself as Piccarda Donati and explains that God assigned to this realm the spirits, such as inconstant nuns, that broke their vows with God. However, she continues, all the spirits in Heaven remain content regardless of their position relative to God. Dante asks the spirits if they ever hope to ascend in Heaven. Smiling, the spirits reply that they are happy with the station assigned to them through divine love. Dante learns that although God's grace shines on souls in varying degrees, all souls that enter Heaven feel perfectly blessed. Piccarda explains that she came to this station because her brother forced her to leave her convent to marry. Another spirit, Constance, confirms that her story resembles Piccarda's story. As Piccarda fades into the haze singing Ave Maria, Dante turns to Beatrice whose face has increased in brightness and beauty.