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

Because the realm of Hell in The Inferno is a bureaucratic location where souls are assessed and assigned punishments, sin takes on a quantifiable form. Write an essay about sin as object in the poem. How does sin become the only quantifiable commodity when a soul dies? How is the soul completely assessed based on the quantity of this sin on it? Cite examples from the text to illustrate how souls in Hell are entirely defined by their sins.

Essay Topic 2

The Inferno is, in large part, a journey for the protagonist from confused pity for the damned souls around him to righteous indignation. Write an essay, charting this transition and its drivers. Chart this in three parts:

Part 1) When Dante first descends with Virgil into the pit of Hell, how does he respond to what he sees there? Discuss various physical reactions he has to the degradation around him and what this means in terms of his attitude toward the sinners.

Part 2) For a time, Virgil tolerates Dante's histrionics in the face of such horrors in Hell. Discuss how this begins to shift. What behavior on Dante's part becomes unacceptable to Virgil, and when does it become unacceptable? What does Virgil admonish him to do in amending his responses?

Part 3) By the time Dante and Virgil enter the ninth circle of Hell, Dante's feeling towards the sinners before him has changed. Citing examples from his last interactions, discuss what he feels about the souls around him. How has his feeling toward sin and the sinner changed over the course of the poem?

Essay Topic 3

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?

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