Divine Comedy Test | Final Test - Hard

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This test consists of 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

The Inferno is in many ways a uniting of past and present. It encompasses the historical, mythical, and biblical, and it unites them with the contemporary. Citing specific examples from all four groups, discuss how Dante Alighieri uses the former three to grant greater weight to contemporary Italian politics. How does he make his own hardships as affecting as those of Achilles and the Christian saints? How does he represent the more recent hardships of Italy?

Essay Topic 2

Write an essay on the portrayal of humanity as a whole, as delineated by the events of The Inferno. Given that nearly everyone in the text is a sinner, what does Alighieri indicate is the root of iniquity in life? What specific sources of sin does he point out over the course of the journey? As Dante and Virgil exit Hell, Virgil discusses mankind's inclinations regarding Satan. What are these inclinations? How does this passage counter the view of humanity painted by the cantos that came before?

Essay Topic 3

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.

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