Grade: Senior
Subject: Literature

#289. Dante's Inferno

Literature, level: Senior
Posted Sat Feb 21 05:46:59 PST 2009 by Tig Lalli ().
Inferno Study
MCCC, Medina, Ohio
Materials Required: Inferno text, Computer, Media & Art Supplies
Activity Time: weeks
Concepts Taught: Summary, Analysis & Writing

PDF file is available on my website. There is also a PDF for grade rubrics. Both files are attachments at the bottom of my page:

Inferno Assignment Overview:
Project may be done individually or with a partner. After class study of the Inferno Cantos 1-6 and 34, Students will more closely examine a portion of Dante's Inferno. Student(s) will choose one of five sections of Dante's Inferno for close independent examination. Using translated text and internet resources, prepare a presentation for class. Follow closely the assignment to prepare for the class presentation. Online sources and summaries may be used, but do not ignore the actual text of the Inferno. Parts One and Two are due ___2/27/09___; Parts Three and Four are due ______3/6/09______; and Part Five (the presentation) must be ready _____3/9/09______. Presentations will begin and continue until all students have presented. Audience participation and attendance are required.
There is a multitude of resources available on the internet for the study of Dante. The list below is includes places to get a start. Other resources not listed may of course be used.

Class Materials & Handouts:
Summaries & Explanations: There are tons; but to suggest a few:
Art Related to the Inferno: images

To begin the journey, select a portion of the Inferno of interest from among the following five choices (it is not recommended to waste time attempting to figure out the "shortest" or easiest" choice--as they are all relatively the same):

5 Choices of sections (realms) for further study: (Make your decision by Thurs, 2/19/09 latest.)
• Circle Four − Circle Five − Circle Six − The hoarders; The wrathful; The heretics (Cantos 7-10)
• Circle Seven − The violent (Cantos 11-17)
Ring 1. Murderers, robbers, and plunderers
Ring 2. Suicides and those harmful to the world
Ring 3. Those harmful against God, nature, and art, as well as usurers
• Circle Eight − The Fraudulent (Cantos 18-23) (May focus on 3 pouches/trenches)
Bowge (Pouch/Trench) I. Panderers and Seducers
Bowge II. Flatterers
Bowge III. Simoniacs
Bowge IV. Sorcerers
Bowge V. Barrators
Bowge VI. Hypocrites
• Circle Eight (Continued) (Cantos 24-31) (May focus on 3 pouches/trenches)
Bowge (Pouch/Trench) VII. Thieves
Bowge VIII. Counselors
Bowge IX. Sowers of Discord
Bowge X. Falsifiers
• Circle Nine − Traitors (Cantos 32-34)
Region i: Traitors to their kindred
Region ii: Traitors to their country
Region iii: Traitors to their guests
Region iv: Traitors to their lords

Examine the section carefully. Read the text. Note important characters and descriptions for further examination. Summarize and explain. Internet resources may be used for assistance, but all information presented and used in the final assignment must be in your own words.

Part One:40 points Realm Examination (Double spaced, Times New Roman 12 pt type)
Summarize the section of study Canto by Canto. Summaries must clearly explain the "crime and punishment" of the Circle of Hell examined. Explain the "sin" and fully describe the punishment and its "appropriateness" as it relates to the sin.

Identify all residents. This is not just a list--explain who they are and their sin/connection to Dante's world. Remember to include mythological creatures as well.
Relate the passage to the modern world. Include "modern" (post Dante) residents justifiably placed in the realm. Identify historical or fictional characters (think about the literature selections covered in literature classes) that Dante may have placed in each circle AND explain why. DO NOT use "real life" people from our little world (No friends, family, teachers, etc.--that's just mean!)

Part Two:28 pointsQuotes and Significant Passages. (May be single spaced, TNR 12pt)
Identify five important passages. Include the exact quote; explain the "context" (what is happening, location, who is speaking etc.); and then finally, explain its significance (what makes the passage important or worth closer examination. Explain in literary terms and must include literary terms and techniques such as simile, metaphor, irony, characterization, setting etc.). Choose the five passages carefully. There is no doubt that there are more that five in each area of the Inferno. Choose passages that will relate or connect to the final presentation.
These should be presented in a chart:

Quote/Line # Context Significance

Part Three:36 points(Double spaced, Times New Roman 12 pt type)
Find one famous "Art Connection" to the realm of study. Follow the assignment below to write a review of the "work."
Reviews are written from an informed point of view. They are written by an expert in a specific area or by one who has researched and studied the subject well. They are an article written giving an opinion or an assessment of a book, play, movie concert, a public performance or work of art. They are usually published in newspapers, journals, magazines or on the internet.
Above all, a review makes an argument. The most important element of a review is that it is a commentary (an educated interpretation), not merely a summary. It allows the writer to enter into dialogue and discussion with the work's creator and/or with audiences. The writer can offer agreement or disagreement and identify the work's exemplary points or deficiencies in its knowledge, judgments, or organization. The writer clearly states an expert or educated opinion of the work in question. The statement will resemble other types of academic writing, with a thesis statement, supporting body paragraphs, and a conclusion.
Typically, reviews are brief. In newspapers and academic journals, they rarely exceed 1000 words; reviews need to be succinct. While they vary in tone, subject, and style, they share some common features:
• First, a review gives the reader a concise summary of the content. This includes a relevant description of the topic as well as its overall perspective, argument, or purpose.
• Second, and more importantly, a review offers a critical assessment of the content. This involves reactions to the work under review: what is striking and noteworthy, evaluation of whether or not it was effective or persuasive, and how it enhances understanding of the issues at hand.
• Finally, in addition to analyzing the work, a review often suggests whether or not the audience would appreciate it.
Part Four:36 points Multi-Genre Connection (3 Choices)
Choose one of three Multi-Genre Connections to the realm of study. Choices include: Newsletter, Postcards, and Setting Creations. All assignments have brainstorming activities to assist with development. [See me if you need one.] I will also include them on my website for printing.


Newsletters are used to keep others with similar interests up-to-date and informed. They are used by businesses, groups, clubs, and organizations.

Using Microsoft Publisher or Word, design a newsletter related to the realm of study. There are templates in both programs. The newsletter should be two-sided and well designed. It should have an obvious appeal to a very specific audience. The newsletter may identify a specific group of people in the realm of study as an organization or may identify Dante's audience (his readers, including modern readers) as a specific group. Newsletters must have a minimum of three articles.

Plan and brainstorm for the newsletter. Share this information with others also reading the selected realm to generate additional ideas and make revisions to the draft. Draft articles on a separate piece of notebook paper; then, publish a final newsletter on the computer.

 a clear "organization" should be identified.
 brainstorm important issues or concerns for your group/ organization.
 develop at least three articles of interest.
 each article should have a specific heading and be proofread and examined for errors.
 include pictures/ graphics/ art / charts or statistical information related to the topics and articles.


Postcards are used for brief and frequent communications between travelers and those they want to stay in touch with. For this assignment, identify a specific location related to the realm of study and learn more about it. Note specific details about the locations, specific events and landmarks related to the location. Use the internet as a resource. Next, choose a main "character" to be the sender of the postcards and another character to be the receiver. In eight separate postcards send communications in the form of a postcard. The message of the postcard, the written part, must be at least a well developed paragraph. The cards may be a continuation of communication or related messages. The postcard may be sent "home" or to another location or even to the "Inferno Master" (that's me remember ). Although there is plenty of room for creativity in this assignment, communications should express a clear understanding of the realm, its events, its characters and their personalities.

**Setting Creation

Settings are important to the development of the literature. The setting is often well defined and essential. The setting is the time and place in which the events of a literary work occur. Setting includes not only the physical surroundings, but also the ideas, customs, values and beliefs of a particular time and place. The setting often contributes to the atmosphere and the mood.

Brainstorm responses to the following questions:

 Where and when to the major events of the realm take place?
 Describe the setting in detail.
 What details bring the setting to life?
 How does the setting affect the main characters, the plot and the events novel?

Design a set from the realm. The set should include details, demonstrate an understanding of the realm and use a variety of materials. It should also express the mood and atmosphere of a specific section of the realm of study. Before constructing, sketch the set/ scene. Share sketch(es) with others reading the same realm. Revise the sketches and build the set.

Part Five:32points Final Oral Presentation.
Present the realm/project to the class. Presentation should be well organized and rehearsed. Presentations must be supported by a variety of media materials. Use parts 1-4 of the project to support the presentation, and provide something for the audience to take with them (an outline, handout, art, notes etc.) Presentation should be a minimum of five minutes but not more than ten.