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

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

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

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?

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