Great Books II   Spring 2017

  Reading Questions  

February 16




Dante - Purgatorio

Focus on Cantos I-V



Book II

  1. Be attentive to leitmotifs: love, conversion, justice, vision, desire, consciousness, time, reason, Israel came out of Egypt, faith, identity, light, water, music/rhythm/sound, time, ...

  2. In the transition between Inferno and Purgatorio, what ends?  what begins?  How/why is Dante ready for Purgatory?

  3. Characterize the differences between Inferno and Purgatory wr/t/ scenery, shades, rituals/rules/practices.

  4. What is the difference between purgation and punishment? How are the penitent different than the sinners?

  5. Why is there an  antepurgatory?

  6. What is the purpose of the inferno? The purpose of purgatory? 

  7. Does Dante experience purgation here? Was he punished in Inferno?




  1. What are the laws of Fortune? of free will?

  2. Is Fortune "just"?

  3. Is tragedy part of Fortune?

  4. How are we to be happy?

  5. What does it mean to "possess" something?