Divine Comedy Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. What does Dante experience in the Dark Wood in Canto 1?

In Canto 1, Dante finds himself lost in a dark wood, and spends a horrific night there. He comes to a Hill upon which he can see the light of the morning Sun. This heartens him and he begins to ascend the hill along a deserted path. He meets a beautiful Leopard who impedes his way for some time, but he continues with a light heart until he is driven back by the terrifying appearance of a Lion and a She-wolf. There, he meets Virgil.

2. Why is Virgil going to guide Dante through Hell?

In this section, Dante worries that he is not worthy of Virgil's guidance. Virgil tells him that a beautiful spirit, Beatrice, a woman Dante loved in real life, called Virgil from heaven and told him to guide Dante. Dante is encouraged and tells his guide to lead him on.

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