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 poem serves as something of a hodgepodge of allusions. He draws from several different sources. In a three-part essay, discuss these various sources. Cite several examples of individuals who appear in the text. Why are they in Hell? How does the poet-pilgrim of the text react to their presence? Does he interact with them?

Part 1) Classical Greek mythology

Part 2) The Christian Bible

Part 3) Contemporary Italian politics

Essay Topic 2

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 3

Write an essay about the significance of Dante's relationship with Virgil in The Inferno. How does using the classic poet as a guide create a link between Alighieri and Italy's past? What significance does Virgil have to Renaissance-era Florence? In terms of narrative, how is Virgil integral both to exposition and to the character of Dante's development as a protagonist? What does he explain to the reader? How is he a catalyst for growth in Dante?

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