Divine Comedy Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

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This test consists of 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Dante, at the beginning of the poem, is a soul lost in a dark wood having lost the straight path. Write an essay discussing the plot of the poem as an allegory for the poet's search for grace while lost in darkness. How is a journey through the degradation necessary for this salvation? What textual precedent, in literature and in myth, is there for a hero's journey through darkness into rebirth? What is waiting for Dante on the other side of the darkness?

Essay Topic 2

Write an essay on the portrayal of humanity as a whole, as delineated by the events of The Inferno. Given that nearly everyone in the text is a sinner, what does Alighieri indicate is the root of iniquity in life? What specific sources of sin does he point out over the course of the journey? As Dante and Virgil exit Hell, Virgil discusses mankind's inclinations regarding Satan. What are these inclinations? How does this passage counter the view of humanity painted by the cantos that came before?

Essay Topic 3

Hell is clearly a hierarchical system in The Inferno. The different strati of the pit indicate an economy of sin in which some sins are worse than others, and one is condemned for the worst sin one committed. Discuss in an essay why the sins are arranged in the order they are, from being unbaptized to betraying one's master. Are there any placements with which you disagree? Why are the sins of pleasure placed higher than those of ambition?

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