By: Dante Alighieri Translated by: John Ciardi Divine ComedyInferno
Backgroundpages: 656-657 1. Who is one of the greatest poets in Western civilization? Dante Alighieri 2. Who is he compared to? William Shakespeare 3. What has he written about? Hell 4. Where is Dante Alighieri from? Florence, Italy 5. What was his economic status growing up? Poor but noble 6. What problems were happening in his country at the time? Since Italy was not unified, the city states were marked with political turbulence and power struggles between ruling families. So the cities were constantly at war with each other while civil wars went on as well 7. What was Alighieri’s job? He was an elected official. 8. What happened in 1300? A civil war broke out & all of Alighieri’s political party was overthrown 9. What happened to Dante in 1302? He was exiled from Florence & this experience played a role in his writing
10. Where and what did Dante study? University of Bologna; law and rhetoric 11. What language were most people writing in? What language did Dante want to write in? Latin; Italian 12.What was Dente’s greatest piece of literature? Divine Comedy • 13. What did this story document? The physical and spiritual journey of a man named • Dante • 14. What number reappeared in this story? Why? Three; it represented the trinity • 15. What are the three parts of The Divine Comedy? Inferno, purgatorio, and paradiso • 16. How many cantos are in each? 33 • 17. Which section takes place on Earth & has an intro canto? Inferno • 18. What is terzorima? A stanza of three lines • 19. How long is Dante’s journey and when does it take place? Three days; between Good • Friday and Easter Sunday • 20. Who helps Dante on his pilgrimage? His love, Beatrice • 21. Who was Dante’s muse? What was her role? Bea-trice Portinari; led him out of • despair • 22. How did she inspire him? She was the subject of Dante’s love poetry, the object of his • religious quest, and a symbol of spiritual purity. • 23. What does she literally and symbolically connect? She links Heaven and Earth • 24. When/where did Dante die? 1321 in Ravenna (in N. Italy)
25. What is an allegory? A literary work with two levels of meaning – literal • and symbolical • 26. What details of the story can be represented literally as well as • symbolically? Every detail including characters and the plot (see • examples in book) • 27. What does the literary journey symbolize? A man’s struggle for • redemption • 28. What is imagery? The use of language that appeals to one or more of • the five senses and creates a mental picture for the reader • 29. Why does the author use imagery? To make the allegorical world seem tangible and real and helps the reader feel the ideas the author is presenting. • * Now copy the eight vocabulary words into your notebook.
Canto I: The Dark Wood of Errorpages: 659-664 The Divine Comedy is broken into three sections. We will be reading four excerpts from “Inferno” (Hell). Dante’s Hell is set up in a series of downward spirals, the sins of the people worsen the farther down the spiral Dante goes. Lucifer is in the lowest and smallest circle. Canto I 1. What season is it? Easter, around March 21st 2. What part of his life is Dante in? Mid-point of his life (35 yrs old) 3. Where does he find himself at this point in his life? He strayed from “the True Way,” into a Dark wood of error. 4. What do you think this means? He is not on the right path (morally) 5. What words or phrases lead up to believe this story is an allegory? Life is a journey; veering from the correct path; being alone in the dark woods 6. How as Dante feeling about the woods? He was fearful 7. How is this story being told? As a flashback 8. How did Dante get into this predicament? He is not sure because of a lack of sleep 9. When he realizes what has happened, what does he do? He looks up and sees the sun, which represents God 10. What did Dante compare himself to? Lines 22-24 A swimmer struggling to move towards shore (simile) 11. What does he set out to do? Climb the Mount of Joy 12. Who/what stops him? How did it do this? A spotted Leopard; Blocked Dante’s path
13. What did Dante consider doing? Going back into the woods • 14. What time of day did this occur? What was symbolized? At the first sign of dawn; • Creation/Rebirth • 15. What did Dante meet next & How did Dante react? A Lion ;He shook with dread • 16. What was the last beast Dante met? A She-wolf • 17. What has she done? Tortured any souls; allegorically, she is the temptation of sin • 18. How did Dante react to her? He lost hope of climbing the mountain • 10. What were the beasts thought to represent? The three divisions of Hell (fraud, • violence, and incontinence: lack of self-restraint) • 20. Which beast does Dante seem to fear the most? The she-wolf • 21. What do these things do to Dante? Drive him back into the Dark Wood in despair • 22. Who appeared just has Dante appeared lost? Describe him. A non-Christian poet • who is no longer living Virgil (symbol of human reason) • 24. How does Dante react to Virgil? He seems impressed and refers to Virgil as his true • master and first author, and then Dante explains that he is trying to avoid the • beasts. Dante asks for Virgil’s protection • 25. What does Virgil suggest? They have to take another route • 26. What does Virgil offer to Dante? To be his guide around the beasts • 27. What does the journey entail? A trip through Hell (second death/damnation,) Going • through purgatory (a burning mountain)
28. Who will guide Dante after this point? Beatrice (the symbol of divine love) • 29. From there where would Dante go? The mountain (Heaven) • 30. Why can’t Virgil take him on the last part of the journey? He is not Christian, so he • only represents Human reasoning, not the divine • 31. Does Dante take Virgil up on his offer to guide him? What do they do? Yes & they • begin their journey through Hell • After Reading Canto I • 1.Based on his thoughts, actions, and emotions, describe Dante. Dante is educated; he values learning and literature; he is emotional. • 2.What idea does each beast represent? Why is each appropriate. The leopard’s look can vary and fool viewers, depending on how many spots it has. It represents deceit. People often think of the lion as the proud king of the animals, but he is also a cruel hunter. It represents pride and cruelty. The She-wolf, which represents greed, is viewed as ravenous. • 3. Since an allegory has a literal and symbolic mean, explain the allegory we see in Canto I. Literally, Dante wakes up in a forest. He sees the sun rising over a hill and wants to go there, but three beasts block his way. To get around the beasts, he must go on a longer, harder journey through Hell & Purgatory. Symbolically, Dante has gotten off the morally right path. He sees Heaven & the light of God, but cannot go there because of his sins. Although it may be hard, Dante has to recognize & renounce his sins before he could get to Mount Joy.
Canto III: The Vestibule of HellPage 665-672 1. Where does the gate lead to? The City of Woe, where the forsaken souls with eternal sorrow are 2. How long has the gate existed, how long will it remain in existence? It existed from the beginning (older than love and intellect) and it will remain there forever 3. What is the last message the gate gives those who enter? Abandon all hope 4. Where did lines 1-12 appear? In the stone above the gate. 5. When Dante asks what the inscription means, what is he told? Here Dante must gather his soul against cowardice because he will encounter the fallen people who have lost the good of intellect 6. Now that Virgil and Dante are beginning their journey, why do you think it is important that Dante’s guide is Virgil? Virgil is someone who Dante respects and admires. Because of this, Virgil is able to get Dante’s trust to lead him through his fears. 7. What is some evidence to help prove this? Virgil convinces Charon to let him pass. Dante takes not only Virgil’s advice, but his hand as they entered through the gates of Hell. Virgil tried to explain some of the things that Dante could expect and tried to prepare him how to act. 8. As they crossed, what did they encounter? Sighs, cries, wails all echoing a confusion of languages and accents with tones of pain and anger. Shrill voices. Whirls of dirty air 9. What tone does this set? One of chaos, disorder and confusion 10. How does Dante react? He said they split his soul to tears, and in horror, asks Virgil who the voices belong to
11. What does Virgil explain? This is where the nearly soulless who neither took the side of good nor bad are. • 12. Why do they cry out? Because they have no hope for death & they envy every other fate. • 13. What does Virgil suggest about these souls? Don’t talk to them and keep moving. • 14. Did Dante know anyone in this section of Hell? Yes, he recognized several souls including Pope Celestine V, who allowed himself to be convinced that no man can live without being damned, and because of this, hid away and the pope who corrupted the church came to power. • 15. Does Dante immediately find out why people want to cross the river? What is he told? No, but he will find out when they are standing on the banks of Acheron. • 16. Who do they see & what is he saying? An old man (Charon). He tells them to abandon hopes of paradise. • 17.What is on the other shore? Eternal darkness • 18. What does he recognize about Dante? That he does not belong in Hell because he isn’t dead. • 19. How does Dante convince Charon to let them pass? He tells Charon that this journey was to be fulfilled to appease God . • 20. How do the spirits react to Charon’s voice? Their teeth chatter and they turn pale because of their fear.
21. What did the spirits do? Spoke badly about God, their parents, their time on Earth, and Adam and Eve; they cried and cursed. • 22. Why go to the shore? What happens on there? That is where all go who lose the fear of God. They will weep and curse. • 23. What are the sinners compared to? Falling leaves in autumn (simile) • 24. What allusion is made in lines 111-114? To the fall of Adam and Eve (the fall of man) • 25. Why would Charon become enraged at Dante’s presence? Because no soul in Grace (destined for Heaven) crosses the River into Hell. • 26. What happened to Dante at the end of this canto? He was overcome with terror and fainted. • After Reading • 1. Who/what do you think Dante the character represents in this allegory? He represents a good Christian who realizes that he has strayed from the “True Way,” or moral life. • 2. Why can’t Virgil accompany Dante to Heaven? Why do you think Dante the author Chose to use Virgil instead of a Christian figure or philosopher? Virgil is not a Christian since he lived before Christians existed and worshiped many gods. Dante probably chose Virgil because he admired his writing and creativity.
Canto V: The CarnalPage 674 • Define Characterization, Direct Characterization, Indirect Characterization, & Allusion • What is the point of View of this story • Define the 8 vocabulary words on page 674. 1. How does the second circle differ from the first? It is a smaller circle, but of greater pain 2. What did Virgil and Dante hear? Inhuman moans 3. When they meet Minos, how is he described? Sitting grinning, grotesque, and healthy. He has a coiling tale 4. What do souls do when they meet Minos?They confess their sins 5. According to the footnote, what point is Dante making? Sinners elect their Hell by an act of their own will 6. Who is the “grim sorter of the dark and foul?” What literature term is being used? Minos; kenning (an elaborate phrase that describes a person or event in a metaphorical way)
7. How does Minos reveal what circle of Hell each soul will go to? He wraps his tail around once for each level the soul will descend 8. What does each soul do after its fate is revealed? It goes to its punishment 9. What does Minos tell Dante? Minos warns him not to be mislead 10. Does Dante reply? No 11. What does Virgil say? He tells Minos that it is Dante’s fate to go through Hell & it’s none of Minos’s concern. 12. As they move on, what does Dante hear, feel and see? He hears voices in agony; He sees a place with no light; he feels the whirlwind 13. What is the allusion in lines 33-35? It references the thought that Christ would descend to Limbo to bring his ancestors to Heaven 14. What have the Carnals betrayed? Reason 15. What do the Carnals have to hope for? Nothing; not less pain, and not of their release. 16. What are the souls in this ring of Hell doing? What causes this? They are forced to whirl around back and forth; Their uncontrolled desire 17. On lines 50-51, what does Dante ask of Virgil? He asked who the spirits are
18. Has Dante ever heard of these lovers in this section? How did he react to Virgil’s descriptions? Yes; he was confused and pitied them. 19. Why does Dante (the author) choose to use characters that are known through history in the sections of Hell? He uses the allusions because the reader is familiar with them. Each character has a connotation, not only does the reader know who/what each allusion was to, that character, thing or even comes with an implied meaning 20. How do the allusions used by Dante influence the reader? It makes the punishments connected to the sins seem more realistic than if he has used fictional characters. 21. How does Virgil suggest Dante get Paolo and Francesca’s attention? Does this work? Call to them in the name of love; yes 22. What are the lovers compared to? Doves being called to their nest 23. How does Francesca react when Dante calls her over? She calls him gracious, kind, and good. She knows he is on a pilgrimage and acknowledges that he does not belong in Hell, though the lovers do. She also says he can ask her what he wants
24. What does Francesca tell Dante? She tells him the story of hers and Paolo’s love. 25. Why do you think that Francesca repeats the word love three times? It suggests that love was a very important concept for her 26. After Francesca finished her story, what does Dante do? Why? He bowed his head and cries because he pities and feels sorry for the pair. 27. According to Francesca, what lead Paolo and her to begin their affair? The story of Lancelot and Guinevere 28. How does the message of the Divine Comedy differ from that of Lancelot? Dante tells the reader the consequences of sin, but the story of Lancelot inspires sin (such as that of Paolo and Francesca) 29. What did Paolo do as Francesca recounted their story? He cried 30. What happened to Dante at the end of this section? He fainted
Canto XXXIV 1. What is Cocytus? Where is it? Who is there? The river of wailing; in the ninth circle of Hell; Satan 2. As the verse begins, who is speaking, to whom, and who is he talking about? Virgil is asking Dante if he sees Satan 3. What is the climate in this section of Hell? Icy, windy, & cold. 4. What are the devil’s wings compared to? A whirling windmill 5. Why did Dante hide behind Virgil? Because of the wild and bitter wind 6. What is the ‘last round’ called? Who is it named for? Judecca- named for Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus 7. What has happened to the souls of the last class? Do they all look the same? They are covered in ice; No, some are lying down, some are some standing, some are upside down, and some are bent over 8. What are some of the ways Satan is referred to as? Foul creature, Dis, the emperor of the universe of pain, Great worm of evil, Fiend, Image of all Evil, Beelzebub 9. According to Virgil, what must Dante do? Guard his soul against all dread
10. In line 21, who is Dante addressing? What does he say? Why does he do this? The reader; the terror that he felt is indescribable; To get the reader’s attention and makes the reader sympathize with him • 11. How was Dante deprived of both life and death? He could not breathe, but was not dead • 12. In comparing Satan to the titans, what is Dante saying about him? He was enormous • 13. What does Dante wonder in lines 33-35? If Satan was ever as beautiful (before he betrayed God) as he is ugly • 14. Describe Satan’s face & body. He has three faces. The front one was red; the one on the right was between white and yellowish/greenish color; and the one on the left was dark colored. From all six eyes, he cried blood and pus. He had rake-like teeth; his heads come together from the middle of each shoulder and they come to a point at the top of his skull. Under each head, he had two wings that were not made of feathers • 15. What happened when he flapped his wings? It created three winds with came together to create one large storm • 16. According to Virgil, which soul in Satan’s mouth suffers the most? Judas • 17. How is the punishment of these three men symbolic retribution? Because the betrayed their legitimate masters (Cassius and Brutus betrayed Caesar and Judas betrayed Christ,) they now are tortured by a new master (Satan.)
18. What day and time of day is it? It’s Saturday Night • 19. Why do they go? Because they have seen everything in Hell • 20. How do they get out of Hell? They climb Satan • 21. How do they begin climbing down, but then climb up? They have reached the center of gravity/ they have gone through the center and were on the other side of the Earth • 22. When he looked back into Hell, what did Dante see? He saw Satan’s legs in the air • 23. What time is it? About 7:30 A.M. on Easter Sunday • 24. Where did they come out? An animal pit in rock • 25. What do they see? The mountain of Purgatory • 26. Why is it significant that the river Lithe flows from it? This river washes away the memory of sin • 27. What did Dante and Virgil begin to do on line 136? They crossed the river and began to climb the mountain to Purgatory • 28. What happened as they reached a round opening? They saw the stars of Heaven • 29. What do the stars symbolize? Hope and virtue
Questions to know for the test 1. Where is Dante as the story begins? How did he get there? 2. How is Dante’s Hell set up? 3. What is Dante’s law of punishment? What does it mean? Explain how this rule is applied throughout the circles of Hell 4. Define allegory. Explain how it is used throughout this story. 5. Define allusion. Give examples of it throughout the story. Why does Dante choose to use this technique? 6. Define imagery. How does Dante use imagery? 7. How does Dante’s feeling about the people he meets in Hell change throughout the story? 8. Why did Dante, the poet, choose Virgil as his guide? Why can’t Virgil lead him to Heaven? Explain. 9. Many times, people assume that Hell is hot and fiery. Why does Dante choose to make it icy and cold?