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.