Explain who the three heavenly women who are concerned about Dante are in the Inferno. Cite evidence.

The three heavenly women who are concerned about Dante in the Inferno are the Virgin Mary, Beatrice, and St. Lucia. These three women vow to watch over him on his journey.

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In Canto II of the Inferno, Dante, with Virgil as his guide, becomes fearful as he comes nearer to the entrance of hell. He tells Virgil that he is worried he is not worthy to take this journey, comparing himself to the hero Aeneas and St. Paul, who both made the trip to hell but who were much more exalted than he.

Virgil reassures Dante that he does not need to be afraid. Virgil states that Dante is the hands of three heavenly women who are concerned about his fate and who will watch over him and help him keep safe during his journey. These women are the Virgin Mary, called "a gentle Lady" in the text, St. Lucia, and Beatrice. In the passage below, Beatrice explains how she and the other two women communicated with each other so that they could all provide for Dante as he traveled:

A gentle Lady is in Heaven, who grieves
At this impediment, to which I send thee,
So that stern judgment there above is broken.

In her entreaty she besought Lucia,
And said, "Thy faithful one now stands in need
Of thee, and unto thee I recommend him."

Lucia, foe of all that cruel is,
Hastened away, and came unto the place
Where I was sitting with the ancient Rachel.

"Beatrice" said she, "the true praise of God,
Why succourest thou not him, who loved thee so,
For thee he issued from the vulgar herd?

In summary, Mary was concerned when she heard that Dante was spiritually lost and trying to regain his Christian faith. She call on Lucia, a bringer of light and mercy, to protect Dante on his journey through hell. Lucia, in turn, called on Beatrice to stand by Dante because of his love for her. Beatrice assures Dante that the three of them will watch over him from heaven.

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