In this episode of Literary Tales, we conclude the tripartite journey into Heaven in Dante’s Divine Comedy by examining how Beatrice is Dante’s “in persona Christi” in Paradiso. At long last, having learned forgiveness in Hell, the goodness of friendship and poetry in Purgatory, Dante is ready to take his seat in the eternal choir of Heaven.

Dante Alighieri, the author of the Divine Comedy.
Cristóbal Rojas, “Dante and Beatrice,” ca. 1889.
An illustration by Gustave Doré depicting Dante and Beatrice in Heaven, conversing with Dante’s ancestor.
Beatrice and Dante, observing a Crucifix while in Heaven. Beatrice plays a typological rule in Paradiso, like the Old Testament prophets or the contemporary clergy, as “in persona Christi.” Beatrice reminds Dante to always keep his focus on Christ, the true heart of love who makes all love possible.
Heaven, as Dante learns, is the place where all love is nourished and consummated; Love, Christian theology maintains, is the true governing reality of the world — just as Dante says at the conclusion of his masterpiece.

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