Divine Comedy Test | Lesson Plans Mid-Book Test - Hard

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Mid-Book Test - Hard

Name: _________________________ Period: ___________________

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

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 geography of Hell is oddly specific in Dante's poem. He gives a clear sense not only of the dimensions of the realm, but also the realm's place in the universe as a whole. Write an essay about the geography of Hell, in three parts:

Part 1) According to Virgil's explanation of Satan's fall and the forming of Hell, why is it a conical pit? What was the logic behind its construction after the plummet of the devil to earth? Discuss how this construction reflects a positive view of humanity and its relationship with sin and evil.

Part 2) Discuss the rivers of Hell. How many of them are there? Where do they all originate, and where are they all flowing? Why is the marsh at the bottom of Hell's pit frozen? Where does the freezing wind from its bottom originate?

Part 3) Discuss Hell's placement in the earth. How does it situate itself in the center of the earth? How is it situated in relation to the mountain of Purgatory? Discuss how this geographical location affects the route that Dante and Virgil take to leave Hell and head toward Purgatory. How do they have to resituate themselves as they descend?

Essay Topic 3

At the beginning of the novel, Dante is lost in a dark wood and he must contend with three wild beasts. These beasts represent three types of sin one faces in life. Write an essay about each of these animals and the type of sin each represents. How are the characteristics of each animal indicative of the manner of the sin? What circles of Hell punish each type of sin? Which is the most egregious type of sin, and why?

Part 1) The She-Wolf.

Part 2) The Leopard.

Part 3) The Lion.

(see the answer keys)

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