Purgatorio – Bring an autograph book


We join Dante and Virgil on their climb up Mount Purgatory, as they are reaching the level of avarice and prodigality, as like in hell, sinners who sin in an opposite way have to share a level, as God probably saw ‘The Odd Couple’ and thought it would make for some laughs.

As you can see from the picture, there they all are, laying on the ground staring at the rock, above the level of eternal joggers, (they had no zeal in life so doomed to a colossal fun-run in death). The avaricious are calling out how stupid it was of them to want money, and that poverty is awesome. A guy called Statius, who was an author, pops up and it seems he was there as he was too fond of spending. I don’t get the big difference between this level of Purgatory and the level of hell in ‘Inferno’ where the misers and the spendthrifts are. Maybe this lot didn’t sin to quite the same extent? Or were repentant, like when you buy a fabulous pair of boots that cost more than your rent, and you feel bad and take them back. And then they only give you a credit note as they were on sale and you feel even worse?

Aaaaaaanyway, Statius it seems was a big fan of Virgil, and goes all fan-boy on him and tried to hug his knees. It this is normal, Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Hiddleston are going to spend eternity with swathes of fellow dead people clinging to their legs. As cool as it is these people will be naked. It’s very uncool I will be naked. I’m positive I couldn’t be nonchalant and cool with famous people if I had no clothes on, I don’t even like being in a swimsuit for long, and poor Statius says he’s been there five hundred years. Ouch.

Then all of a sudden, the angels start singing ‘Gloria in exchelsis’ and the mountain shakes, and there is the pinging sound of a microwave as it it seems one lucky sinner is ‘done’ and can go up to Paradiso. This must be like when you’re in the doctor’s waiting room and your number is called, and then Statius shouts that he’s been there five hundred years and he was sure you came in after him.

Gustav Doré's impression of Avarice. That's a lot of bums. I'm not sure I'd know where to look.

Gustav Doré’s impression of Avarice. That’s a lot of bums. I’m not sure I’d know where to look.