The Terrace of Pride

In Cantos XI and XII, of The Purgatorio, we make our way to the first terrace, the deadly sin of pride.  Here, on the first terrace, those guilty of pride, are required to carry heavy stones on their backs that cause them to walk very close to the ground very slowly.  This form of purging is opposite to that of the guilty sin.  The carrying of these heavy stones drives the pride out of these individuals so they can make their way up the mountain.

While these individuals are hunched over, they see examples of pride carved into the mountain as a reminder of what their pride has brought them.  These examples, in my opinion, serve to show those individuals, in a very strong sense, what they shouldn’t have been doing while they were in the land of the living.

I also believe that this terrace, and it’s sin of pride, is the one that Dante, both the pilgrim, and the man in real life, is most associated.  There are cases mentioned in The Inferno, and maybe in one or two places here in The Purgatorio, where Dante likes to associate himself with those great poets and philosophers that must reside in limbo in the inferno.  I even get the impression that Dante feels that he may be even greater than Virgil himself.  That, in a sense, would make him very guilty of the sin of pride.

Finally, as Dante and Virgil leave the first terrace, one of the seven P’s are removed by an angel as they make their way up to the second.  In this case, one the first P is removed, the remaining six get significantly lighter in color.  I believe they get lighter because each of the remaining six sins are based in pride, in this case, pride may be the deadliest of the seven sins.  To me, this logic makes a great deal of sense.


About Jeremy

Husband, book lover, Civil War Buff. If I could read for a living I would, but unfortunately, it doesn't pay the bills!

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