Divine Comedy Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. How are the rounds of the eighth circle divided?

2. What does the inscription on the gates of Hell in Canto 3 tell souls to abandon before they enter?

3. In Canto 3, what is buffeting the sinners of the second circle of Hell?

4. What shields Dante and Virgil from the falling fire in Canto 15?

5. According to Farinata in Canto 10, what do the dead have difficulty seeing?

Short Essay Questions

1. What horrific moment does Dante witness at the end of Canto 13?

2. Who is Capaneus, and what is he doing in Canto 14?

3. How are the panders and seducers of Canto 18 punished?

4. How does Dante proceed to the eighth circle at the end of Canto 17?

5. Describe the conversation the souls have with Dante in Canto 16?

6. What does Dante notice about the usurers in Canto 17?

7. What are the trees in Canto 13?

8. What does Farinata reveal about Dante and the visions of damned souls in Canto 10?

9. Who is the unnamed soul who talks with Virgil in Canto 22?

10. Why was Guido not released from Hell after death?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

Most of the figures featured is Dante's poem are being punished in Hell for one sin or another. There are, however, groups that serve functions in Hell; one could almost call them employees of Hell. Write a poem in three parts about these figures of The Inferno:

Part 1) At what point does Dante encounter the Fallen Angels who fought on Satan's side in the Heavenly civil war? What is their job in Hell? How do they interact with Virgil and Dante in their passages of The Inferno? Discuss how Virgil deals with these officiates of the City of Dis.

Part 2) Only some of the circles of Hell actually have demons in them. Discuss which circles these are and what duties the demons must perform within them. What human characteristics do these monsters display? How does Alighieri portray them in the text? What is the cumulative effect of their passages of the poem?

Part 3) Who are the Giants and what is their function concerning the ninth circle of Hell? Discuss why they are imprisoned in Hell, and why only some of them are chained? What service does one of the Giants perform for the pilgrims in the poem?

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

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?

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