Free Will Within Dante Essay

889 words - 4 pages

At first glance it may not appear that Dante’s Purgatorio has a central theme of liberty. However, the majority of its premise all relates to that of liberty and free will. Free will is the dictionary form of liberty; thus, they can be interchangeable. As humans, God has given us all the choice to do as we wish whether it be good or bad, and this ability to choice is that of free will. Dante’s journey through the afterlife is ultimately a quest for freedom, and this essay will address how the theme of free will is presented.
The first instance of liberty in Purgatorio can be seen in Canto I; Cato challenges Dante and Virgil by questioning if the divine law has been broken because Dante is ...view middle of the document...

Moreover, Triggiano explains it as Virgil “clarifies the properties of natural and elective love at work in man’s freedom of will. There, the lesson turns upon the explanation of human failing as the misdirection or the wrong measure of love” (18). That is to say, that through free will we chose our own path, and that that path can be altered by using love in the wrong ways.
In Canto XXVII, Virgil makes his last appearance. His last words to Dante are “I crown and miter you lord of yourself” (142). This represents that Virgil feels that Dante can now use his free will to choose how to direct his love in the rest of his journey. Furthermore, it is almost as if Virgil is liberating Dante: “I led you here with skill and intellect; / from here on, let your pleasure be your guide: / the narrow ways, the steep are far below (130-132). This can be perceived as Dante is now in charge of himself and no longer under the guidance of Virgil, and that he now knows the power of love and how to control it through his own free will. On another account, Triggiano suggests that, in Canto XXVII, Dante realizes why God has given man free will, and “the purpose of which it was given that the highest moral liberty has been attained, only when holy action has become as instinctive as the...

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