Canto 2 Summary

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Last Updated February 28, 2023.

Dante and Virgil spend much of the next day climbing; by that evening, Dante begins to doubt whether he is capable of continuing this journey and wonders if it is even worthwhile. 

As the day draws to a close on Friday, Dante and Virgil have spent most of their time climbing. Dante begins to doubt whether he should carry on with the journey. Comparing himself to both Aeneas and St. Paul—both of whom have journeyed through the circles of Hell—Dante feels inferior. He questions the reason for his presence there and worries about what might happen if he falters along the path. 

Virgil informs Dante that a divine spirit named Beatrice expressed concern for him. The Virgin Mary sent Beatrice to Virgil through St. Lucia, a messenger, to request that Virgil bring Dante back from his travels and accompany him along this journey.

The poet encourages Dante to be courageous and attempts to allay his fears of inadequacy, telling him that three women in Heaven are worried about him. Dante feels reassured by Virgil’s words and admits that he is emboldened. The pair proceed with a new fervor, certain that their journey is righteous and necessary.

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Canto 3 Summary