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This helps keep Virgil in the foreground of the poem, since (as a resident of Limbo) Virgil is less qualified as a guide here than he was in Hell.As a resident of Purgatory, Sordello is able to explain the Rule of the Mountain: that after sunset souls are incapable of climbing any further.The Late-Repentant includes (1) those too lazy or too preoccupied to repent (the Indolent), (2) those who repented at the last minute without formally receiving last rites, as a result of violent deaths, and (3) the Negligent Rulers.These souls will be admitted to Purgatory thanks to their genuine repentance, but must wait outside for an amount of time equal to their lives on earth.; Italian for "Purgatory") is the second part of Dante's Divine Comedy, following the Inferno, and preceding the Paradiso. It is an allegory telling of the climb of Dante up the Mount of Purgatory, guided by the Roman poet Virgil, except for the last four cantos at which point Beatrice takes over as Dante's guide.

This gate has three steps: polished white (reflecting the purity of the penitent's true self), black (the colour of mourning; cracked in the shape of a Christian cross), and red (symbolising the blood of Christ and the restoration of true life) (Canto IX).In his Letter to Cangrande, Dante explains that this reference to Israel leaving Egypt refers both to the redemption of Christ and to "the conversion of the soul from the sorrow and misery of sin to the state of grace".The poets begin to climb in the early hours of morning.John Ciardi writes that these Negligent Rulers are "elevated above their negligent subjects because their special duties made it difficult for them to think about the welfare of their own souls".Dante also speaks with the souls of contemporary Italian statesmen Currado Malaspina and Nino Visconti, the latter being a personal friend whom Dante rejoices at not having found among the damned.Allegorically, the Purgatorio represents the penitent Christian life.

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