Divine Comedy Test | Final 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

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?

Essay Topic 2

Dante Alighieri is clearly a Catholic poet, and so his epic poem does not necessarily reflect a worldview in which there are many paths to Heaven. Write an essay on the distinctly Catholic roots of The Inferno, focusing on three aspects of the poem:

Part 1) Who is punished in the first circle of Hell, Limbo? How does this reflect the notion that even a virtuous life is not sufficient to ensure salvation? What has kept the souls in this circle from entering Heaven or even Purgatory? Did they ever, in fact, have the chance of achieving salvation in Dante's divinity?

Part 2) Discuss the circle in which those guilty of committing violence against God are punished. How does the population of this circle reflect a moral code informed exclusively by the Christian religious texts? Who is punished there that today would be considered wholly innocent in a secular humanist view?

Part 3) Discuss parts of The Inferno in which Dante is distinctly critical of the Catholic Church. What is his attitude toward the hierarchy of Rome? What specific grievances does the pilgrim Dante cite in his journey through Hell?

Essay Topic 3

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?

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