|Name: _________________________||Period: ___________________|
This test consists of 1 (of 3) essay topics.
Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:
Essay Topic 1
In The Inferno, Dante clearly divides the sins which are punished into two groups, divided by a great wall. The division exists as a division in both intention and objective, and one group is clearly more appalling to God than the other. Discuss this division in a two-part essay:
Part 1) What sins are punished in the circles outside the City of Dis? What do these types of sins have in common? Discuss why these sins are less egregious than the ones that are punished inside the walls of Dis. To what extent does this entail a divine justice that understands, at least in part, the temptations of human nature?
Part 2) What do all the sins that exist inside the City of Dis and below have in common? How are they all unnatural in their intention and in the actions necessary to commit them? Is there any inherent pleasure to them? In discussing this, discuss how Dante's attitude toward the sinners around him changes.
Essay Topic 2
As Dante and Virgil travel the circles of Hell, the poet clearly established a sort of grand history for the pit as a concrete location. Write an essay chronicling the history of the realm of Hell as related throughout the poem. How was the pit formed, and who were its original inhabitants? Where did the three rivers of Hell originate? What evidence of Christ's harrowing of Hell are visible in the geography of the pit?
Essay Topic 3
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?
This section contains 320 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)