Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Moral structure

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Open Access Status

  • Embargoed (until 28/06/19)


Chapter 12 provides a comprehensive overview of the moral structure of each of the three realms of Dante’s afterlife: Hell, Purgatory and Paradise. It examines Dante’s sources, ethical criteria, and topography, as well as his representation of moral structure in the narrative itself, and its political implications. The first section analyses the four principal regions of Hell through Virgil’s rationale: the circles of incontinence, the ‘rings’ of violence, the ‘pouches’ of simple fraud, and the pit of treacherous fraud. It then explores the three groups of souls that Virgil strikingly leaves out: the ‘neutrals’, the virtuous pagans in Limbo, and the heretics. The second section addresses four key differences between Infernal and Purgatorial suffering, explains the moral theories of disordered love and the seven capital sins underpinning the seven terraces of Dante’s Purgatory, and examines the theologically original antechamber of Purgatory, and the Earthly Paradise at the mountain’s summit. The third section highlights Dante’s distinction between what Paradise is and how it is conveyed, and shows how his layered vision of Paradise overlaps the scheme of the four cardinal and three theological virtues with the theory of astral influence on personality.


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Cambridge Companion to Dante's Commedia
EditorsZygmunt Barański, Simon Gilson
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781108367769
ISBN (Print)9781108421294
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018

Publication series

Name Cambridge Companions to Literature

    Research areas

  • Dante, Ethics, Morals, Theology, Politics, Rationale, Christian, Hell, Purgatory, Paradise

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. Dante, Epicuro, e Firenze: Una rilettura contestuale del dialogo fra Cavalcante e Dante (Inf. X 52-72)

    Corbett, G., 1 Mar 2019, In : Studi Danteschi. 83, p. 55-71 17 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. TheoArtistry, and a contemporary perspective on composing sacred choral music

    Corbett, G., 28 Dec 2017, In : Religions. 7, 1, 7.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Vertical readings in Dante's Comedy: Volume 3

    Corbett, G. (ed.) & Webb, H. (ed.), Dec 2017, 1st ed. Cambridge: Open Book Publishers. 264 p.

    Research output: Book/ReportBook

  4. Introduction

    Corbett, G. & Webb, H., 2017, Vertical Readings in Dante's 'Comedy', volume 3. Corbett, G. & Webb, H. (eds.). Cambridge: Open Book Publishers, Vol. 3. p. 1-9 9 p.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

  5. Parallel exempla: a theological reading of Dante's terrace of pride (Purgatorio x-xii)

    Corbett, G., 2017, In : Le Tre Corone. 4, p. 73-96

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

ID: 249567614