Dante’s Divine Comedy

Dante’s Divine Comedy

Bring these questions and your answers to them to class for our graded discussion. Questions 2 – 6 will be found by exploring the UT Austin Interactive Website linked above. Number 1 can be found in your textbook and #7 is for your own subjective ideas. 1. What events or circumstances led Dante to write this poem? Remember that art is always a reaction to (or against) something; what are some things Dante was responding to? 2. What is the 2nd circle of Hell and who inhabits it (and why?)?In it, Dante describes the “Harrowing.” Explain what this means. 3. Explain the 5th circle of hell; how are the two sins related and yet different? How are there punishments reflective of these differences? 4. Circle 6: Heresy, which is defined here as the denial of the soul’s immortality, is a relatively bad sin, according to Dante. Imagine that you live in the Middle Ages and explain why this is so bad. 5. Circle 8 (click text,left side) – Simony and hypocrisy: Scroll down to Simon Magus and explain the connection between him and the offense of simony. Find Pope Nicholas and explain why he is in the 8th circle, and do the same for Pope Boniface VIII. 6. The 9th (lowest) circle of Hell: Treachery – How does Dante define this sin? How do you define it? Who is down in the lowest part of Hell along with Lucifer? Why are they there and what is their punishment? How does this image (the physical environment) of Hell differ from what you’re used to hearing about? Why might it be appropriate for these sinners? 7. Although a man of privilege and education for his time, Dante supports many ideas we see today as unenlightened (antisemetism, hetero-normative view of sex and love, support of the empire at the expense of democratic ideas… etc. What ideas that our society supports today might make future generations of enlightened people consider us “medieval?” 8. Dante’s Divine Comedy, especially the Inferno, bring really graphic visual images to mind. Using the resources provided (Gallery and other artworks you found), discuss one artist you like who created works inspired by Dante’s Divine Comedy. In addition to those found within the UT Austin Gallery link, you can research artists like August Rodin, Salvador Dali, or even more modern artists you may find. Write and be ready to talk about what artwork/artist moved you and what specific things you liked about this artist’s ability to capture in images the ideas of the poem.