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's Inferno has a sly humor in the way punishments hold a poetic appropriateness to the sin they punish. In an essay, choose three circles of Hell from the text and discuss this poetic justice. What sin is punished in this circle, and how is it punished? Does this punishment involve a hyperbolic extremity of the sin, an intense converse state to the sin, or some poetic metaphor for it? How do the damned exist in this state of perpetual punishment?

Essay Topic 2

The impetus to write a travelogue of Hell is a multifaceted question. Dante Alighieri is clearly enraged by enough issues of his day that he feels the need to send people to Hell. Write an essay in three parts dealing with the catalysts for much of the subject-matter of The Inferno. How has Dante been affected each of these issues? How is this issue represented in the poem? What punishment is doled out to malefactors of each issue?

Part 1) The civil war in Florence.

Part 2) Corruption in the Catholic Church

Part 3) General ascendancy of unscrupulous people.

Essay Topic 3

Discuss in an essay The Inferno as a satirical document. What real-life misfortunes had Dante Alighieri suffered prior to writing the poem, and what targets did he have in Florence? Citing specific examples in the text, show how Dante uses the fires of Hell as a means of revenge on those who have wronged him in life. What iniquity does he reveal about his targets over the course of The Inferno? How does he make them pay for them?

(see the answer keys)

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