Objective: At the beginning of The Inferno, Dante is a lost soul, a protagonist without a journey awaiting a spur to achieve great things. Often this is the case in epic stories, which begin with a truant who must undertake large endeavors. The objective of this lesson is to examine the role of the lost soul in epic literature.
1. For class discussion: As a class, review the first two cantos of The Inferno. How does each element of Dante's time in the Dark Wood seem to represent an aspect of his lost existence? What does he lose in the Dark Wood? What impedes his way? Based on his discussion with Virgil in Canto 2, discuss why he might be lost in his life. Does it have something to do with his lost love Beatrice?
2. Divide the class into several groups. Assign each a work of literature that could...
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