Dante's Inferno study guide

Dante’s Inferno study guide
1. What does Dante encounter at the
beginning of the poem?
7. Why do the souls or Cleopatra, Helen of
Troy, and Francesca suffer in the second
level of Hell? And What is their
2. How does Dante regard Virgil?
8. Who is Minos? What does he do?
3. Why is Virgil not able to go beyond Hell
to Heaven?
9. Describe the lowest level of Hell. Who is
there? Why are they there? What do they
4. Why does Charon not think it is right for
Dante to be there?
5. What is Dante’s reaction when he sees the
She-Wolf, and what do you think causes
this reaction?
6. What are Dante’s thoughts on the
uncommitted in Canto 3? What
comparisons does he make?
10. Who is Beatrice?
11. What are the levels of hell we read about?
What sinners are in each circle? What is
each punishment? Why is this a fitting
punishment for their sins?
Essay preparation
The Inferno can be read as an allegory, a literary work in which most of the characters, objects and events
represent abstract qualities, such as kindness or greed. An allegory has a second level of meaning in
addition to its literal meaning. Analyze the following allegorical elements within Dante’s work, giving a
possible meaning for the listed elements. The first is given as an example. Find evidence to support your
claims. This page may be used on your essay question.
The dark woods: The confusion and misery caused by sin
The sunlight on the hill:
A whirling banner followed by many souls:
The character of Virgil:
The ice in the lowest parts of Hell: