Purgatorio section 2: As the sun rises on Purgatory, Dante spies a ship sailing across the sea toward the island at a great rate. Virgil instructs Dante to kneel and fold his hands because it is an angel that guides the boat and propels it with its wings. The brightness of the angel's face blinds Dante. As the ship approaches, Dante hears the voices of hundreds of spirits aboard the boat singing a psalm. When the spirits land on the island they ask Dante and Virgil for directions to the path. Virgil explains that they too are new arrivals and the spirits realize that Dante is still alive because they can see him breathing. Meanwhile, a spirit, Casella, recognizes Dante. Dante tries to embrace Casella three times but because she is a spirit, she has no mass and Dante's arms close around air. Casella put some of Dante's poems to music so Dante asks her to sing a song for him. The other spirits gather around to listen to the sweet song but Cato ends the diversion by reminding everyone that their mission to climb the mountain is urgent. The spirits disperse and begin their journey.
Purgatorio section 3: When the travelers enter Ante-Purgatory Dante suffers a moment of fear when he notices that he is the only one who casts a shadow. Virgil explains that he casts a shadow because he is alive. Many great thinkers have tried to understand why spirits can be seen but do not have mass or cast shadows. Virgil explains that this phenomenon is one of God's mysteries and is beyond human comprehension. Virgil then explains the same phenomenon to a group of approaching spirits that are shocked to see Dante's shadow. One of the spirits in the group approaches Dante. This spirit belongs to Manfred, the illegitimate son of Fredrick II. Manfred begs Dante to tell his daughter that he repented before he died and that he regrets that his body did not get a proper burial. Manfred explains to Dante that even people who repent at the last minute are granted salvation but they must stay in Purgatory thirty times as long as the length of their rebellion against the Church. Manfred hopes that his daughter's prayers will take some time off of his stay in Purgatory.
Purgatorio section 4: Dante's conversation with Manfred has made Dante lose track of time. He uses this incident to contradict the notion of the plurality of souls doctrine. Virgil and Dante come to a cleft in the rocks where they begin their climb toward the summit. Dante finds the climb through the First Spur, where the Late-Repentant due to negligence dwell, extremely difficult and must stop at a ledge to rest. While they rest, Dante notices that although they face the sun, the sun appears on his left. Virgil explains that Purgatory stands on the opposite hemisphere from Jerusalem and since scientists believed that the world only had one hemisphere, this geography made perfect sense to Dante. As the two begin their ascent once again, Virgil comforts Dante by telling him that the climb will become increasingly easier as they approach the summit. As they climb, Dante encounters one of his friends, Belaqua, whose sarcastic taunting prompts Dante to tell his friend that he will no longer grieve for him. Virgil urges his pupil to hurry on.
Purgatorio section 5: Dante and Virgil move to the Second Spur where the Late-Repentant who died by violence spend their time in Purgatory. As they walk, a large group of spirits approach them singing a psalm. Once they realize that Dante is alive they beg him to send news to their loved ones on Earth. These spirits did not receive the sacrament because they died by violence so prayers from their friends and families will make their time in Purgatory shorter. Various spirits from this group including Jacopo del Cassero and Buonconte da Montefeltro tell their tales of death in battle. Buonconte reveals that an angel and a demon fought over his soul after he died but the angel finally took possession of him because of a little tear that appeared in his eye. Finally, the spirit belonging to La Pia, a lady from Siena, asks Dante to remember her when he returns to Earth.
Purgatorio section 6: Dante compares his situation in Purgatory to that of a gambler who has won: "When dicing's done and players separate, the loser's left alone, disconsolate-rehearsing what he'd thrown, he sadly learns; all of the crowd surrounds the one who won-one goes in front, and one tugs at his back, and at his side one asks to be remembered." Nearly every spirit that he meets urges Dante to ask for prayers on its behalf. Virgil once wrote that prayers from loved ones do not help souls in Purgatory. Dante questions him on this opinion and Virgil explains that the passage that he wrote referred to a pagan who would not be helped by prayers; Christians do, however, leave Purgatory earlier when God's heard prayers on their behalf. Virgil also admits, though, that Beatrice will give him the final answers to all of his questions so Dante is eager to continue their journey. Virgil and Dante encounter a spirit named Sordello from Mantua along their path. Virgil, who is also a Mantuan, embraces Sordello. Dante uses this opportunity to illustrate how people from the same city used to stay connected while people today act like strangers to each other. Dante delivers a scorching invective against the people of Italy then he turns his anger to the Florentines who, he believes, have become especially bad neighbors.