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

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?

Essay Topic 2

The subject of The Inferno is clearly a dire one, but the poem is not without its humorous components. Write an essay discussing the use of humor in Alighieri's work. What characters and situations in the poem provide comedy in the face of damnation? What is the nature of this humor? Is it morbid? Slapstick? Wordplay? What is the tonal function of these comedic passages? How do they relate to the more somber portions?

Essay Topic 3

The Inferno is in many ways a uniting of past and present. It encompasses the historical, mythical, and biblical, and it unites them with the contemporary. Citing specific examples from all four groups, discuss how Dante Alighieri uses the former three to grant greater weight to contemporary Italian politics. How does he make his own hardships as affecting as those of Achilles and the Christian saints? How does he represent the more recent hardships of Italy?

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