• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • You already know Dokkio is an AI-powered assistant to organize & manage your digital files & messages. Very soon, Dokkio will support Outlook as well as One Drive. Check it out today!



Page history last edited by Mr. Mullen 5 years, 2 months ago





Intro to Dante

Textbook: The Divine Comedy

4th edition: pp. 331-333

5th edition pp.325-326



  • written in the vulgar (Italian)

  • begins in despair and ends in bliss, as opposed to tragedy

  • realistic view of human nature

  • wide variety of human types



The Divine Comedy as “spiritual epic”

  • the poet’s quest for salvation

  • iter mentis ad Deo


Structure of The Divine Comedy

  • Three canticles: Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradiso

  • Each canticle contains 33 cantos. (There is one introductory canto.)

  • 100 total cantos

  • Each canto is written in terza rima

    • three-line stanza

    • interlocking rhymes

  • Number symbolism: multiples of 3


Levels of interpretation

  • literal: Dante as a character

  • allegorical: commentary on contemporary politics

  • anagogical: Everyman’s quest for salvation


Structure of Inferno

  • Dante witnesses the “gamut of human sins and their punishments.”

  • Structured on the seven deadly sins, which are arranged in three categories.

    • Incontinence, sins of the flesh

      • Sloth

      • Lust

      • Gluttony

    • Violence

      • Wrath

      • Greed

      • Envy

    • Fraud

      • PRIDE



Introductory lecture from Yale: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=679FGDpZBew


Divine Comedy Full Text


William Blake's sketches of Inferno:


and here (very cool): http://www.blakearchive.org/exist/blake/archive/copy.xq?copyid=but812.1&java=yes


The Medieval Bestiary: http://bestiary.ca/ 

Really good maps: The World of Dante

Questions and activities for each canto we study. Please add your own questions to these pages.

Canto 1

Canto 3

Canto 5

Canto 26

Canto 33

Canto 34

Side by side 200/12 journals


Canto 1:       Stephen Crane's "The Wayfarer"


Canto 3:      ee cummings and Robert Frost: 2 poems 


Canto 5:       canto5_side.doc


Canto 26:     CuriosityAlastair Reed_dante_26.doc


Canto 33:     "Good Country People" by Flannery O'Connor

  • Compare the pairs in the story to the pairs in Inferno, particularly Canto 33.
  • What is the significance of Joy's name change?
  • What is the significance of the prosthetic leg?
  • What kinds of treason occur in the story?
  • What is Hulga's punishment? How is it appropriate?
  • What is the significance of the title?


Canto 34:   A poem by Robert Frost and one by William Blake

Expand a side by side journal entry into an essay



  • Choose one of your journal entries.
  • Expand that journal entry into a brief essay that compares and contrasts a canto of Inferno with the side by side text.
  • The essay should be no more than 2 typed pages double spaced in 12-point standard font. 


The essay should have these three "chunks"*: 

  • Chunk 1: A paragraph that makes a clear, direct statement of exactly how the canto and the side by side text could read together. (answer the question)
  • Chunk 2: A paragraph or two that performs a text-rooted analysis of how the the poem and the canto could be read together. (provide the evidence)
    • Concentrate on the WORDS-- their meanings, connotations, and metaphorical values. The text is the final (and only) arbiter of the validity of a reading. If there is no textual evidence, there is no argument. 
    • Consider the TONE of the speaker(s). Their attitude toward the subject matter is of paramount importance.
  • Chunk 3: A paragraph or two that demonstrates how your analysis leads to a deeper understanding of the canto. (significant to the work as a whole, theme)
    • A theme can be thought of as a statement of what is IRONIC about the text. 


*CHUNK: a section of an essay that performs a particular function. A chunk can, among other things, introduce the thesis, analyze a section of text, or consider a theme. A CHUNK can be one or more paragraphs.



  • Three chunks. Each chunk performs its function as described above.  75 points, or 25 points per chunk
  • Grammar, syntax, usage, clarity: The essay has been proofread and revised for correctness and clarity. 25 points

Comments (0)

You don't have permission to comment on this page.