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This test consists of 5 short answer questions and 1 (of 3) essay topics.
Short Answer Questions
1. What city does Dante condemn in Canto 33?
2. With what is the fifth chasm filled?
3. Which character interrogates the Navarroan soul in Canto 22?
4. To which Trojan character does Dante compare the rabid soul that rushes past him in the beginning of Canto 30?
5. In what form are Cianfra and Francesco de' Cavalcanti presented in Canto 25?
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
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.
Essay Topic 3
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?
This section contains 2,278 words
(approx. 8 pages at 300 words per page)