*Presences in The Waste Land *

By Seamus Perry

// Much later, in the crash of the poem’s last lines, another voice from
Dante’s poem emerges, but now from the Purgatorio, the next stage in the
journey. It is a voice from the dead who asks to be remembered. Eliot
quotes the line that follows the speech: ‘Poi s’ascose ne foco che gli
affina’, meaning ‘Then he hid him in the fire which refines them’. The
flames of Purgatory are unlike the flames of Hell which otherwise they seem
to resemble so closely: they are agonising but their function is not to
punish but to amend, for they work purposively to burn away sin and prepare
the willing soul (agonisingly) for its progress. It is one of several
threads in Part V that show a movement of the spirit, however doctrinally
unspecific it might be at this stage in Eliot’s life, towards something
other than the perpetuity of the waste. //

Emphasis mine.