Dante's Inferno

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Provides background on the author and the content and form of the Divine Comedy.

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  • Overview of PowerPoint Presentation -Keep Q&A to a minimum and have students save questions for the end– otherwise, this will drag on forever. It should take no more than two class periods to deliver TOPS. Estimated Reading Time for Inferno Each page takes readers 2-3 minutes if they read carefully, consult the notes in the edition they are reading, use the dictionary or glossary regularly, and take notes for study purposes. Since there are 291 pages in the Penguin Classics edition, this means that the student will need 291 times 3 minutes, or 873 minutes (about 15 hours) . It is evident, then, that the estimated reading time for this book is longer than for a typical narrative. Reading The Inferno according to the natural canto breaks is the best approach. The average silent reading rate for a secondary student is 250 to 300 words per minute. Since each page contains approximately 11 stanzas of 27 words, the average number of words per page is 300 words. The words in Dante’s Inferno include many which most students have never heard or seen; since these words relate to the geography of a foreign country, people who are not well-known, and lesser mythological characters, students should adjust their reading rate accordingly. Since it is important that students consult the endnotes, glossary, and/or a dictionary, the reading rate will be slowed further. A. P. Davis.  "Dante's Inferno: Introduction." Epics for Students . Ed. Marie Rose Napierkowski. Vol. 0. Detroit: Gale, 1998. eNotes.com . January 2006. 21 July 2006. <http://www.enotes.com/inferno/3165>.
  • Dante's Inferno

    1. 1. Dante's Divine Comedy The Epic Tradition Dante the Man The Inferno h DeCubellis: English 127
    2. 2. <ul><li>The Meaning of Epic </li></ul><ul><li>K ulturbäre r??? </li></ul><ul><li>Verse versus Prose </li></ul>The Epic Tradition
    3. 3. <ul><li>In Medias Res </li></ul><ul><li>Elevated language </li></ul><ul><li>Meter </li></ul><ul><li>Rhyme </li></ul><ul><li>Set in days of yore </li></ul><ul><li>Confrontations between mighty adversaries </li></ul>The Epic Tradition
    4. 4. <ul><li>Primary Epics </li></ul><ul><ul><li>No single author </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sung </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Improvised, then written down </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Unified plot </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Secondary Epics </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Single author </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Imitation of primary epic’s conventions, but… </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>May be episodic (e.g. Inferno) </li></ul></ul>http://www.jazclass.aust.com/permanent/im109.gif The Epic Tradition
    5. 5. <ul><li>Primary Epics </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Iliad </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Odyssey </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Secondary Epics </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Aeneid </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Divine Comedy </li></ul></ul>http://www.jazclass.aust.com/permanent/im109.gif The Epic Tradition
    6. 6. <ul><li>lliad Fall of Troy , 1184 B.C. 750 B.C. Homer Greek </li></ul><ul><li>Odyssey …ten years after fall of Troy 750 B.C. Homer Greek </li></ul><ul><li>Aeneid ??? 19 B.C. Virgil Roman </li></ul><ul><li>Divine Comedy Good Friday to Easter  1300 A.D. Dante High Middle Ages </li></ul><ul><li>EPIC SET COMPOSED POET CULTURE </li></ul>The Epic Tradition
    7. 7. Dante's Divine Comedy
    8. 8. <ul><li>Meaning of “Comedy” </li></ul><ul><li>Historical context </li></ul><ul><li>Religious context </li></ul><ul><li>Cast of characters </li></ul><ul><li>Three journeys… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Literal journey </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Spiritual autobiography </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Allegory of salvation </li></ul></ul>Dante's Divine Comedy
    9. 9. <ul><li>3 </li></ul>Dante's Divine Comedy
    10. 10. <ul><li>Inferno </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Hollow cone </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Archetypal spiral </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rounds </li></ul></ul>Dante's Divine Comedy
    11. 11. <ul><li>Purgatorio </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Purgation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Archetypal mount </li></ul></ul>Dante's Divine Comedy
    12. 12. <ul><li>Paradiso </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Levels of heaven </li></ul></ul>(Hell and Purgatory) Dante's Divine Comedy FIGURE 91. Dante's Scheme of the Universe . Slightly modified from Michelangelo Caetani, duca di Sermoneta, La materia della Divina Commedia di Dante Alighieri dichiarata in Vi tavole, Monte Cassino, 1855 . (From Studies in the History and Method of Science , ed. by Charles Singer, 1917, Vol. I, Fig. 4.)
    13. 13. <ul><li>What’s what? </li></ul>Dante's Divine Comedy FIGURE 90. The Earth of Dante . a . City of Jerusalem. b . Mountain of Purgatory. c . Inferno within the Earth. (From Paradise Found ; William Fairfield Warren, 1885.)
    14. 14. Purgatorio Paradiso 33 33 33 Intro 1 100 cantos total Inferno Dante's Divine Comedy + + +
    15. 15. <ul><li>Early Years </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Florence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Parentage </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Love </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Beatrice </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Vita Nuova </li></ul></ul><ul><li>War </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Campaldino vs. Arezzo </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Siege of Pisan fortress at Caprona </li></ul></ul>Dante the Man
    16. 16. <ul><li>High Middle Ages </li></ul><ul><li>Dualistic tensions </li></ul><ul><li>Religion vs. politics </li></ul><ul><li>Divine knowledge vs. Rationality </li></ul><ul><li>Reason vs. emotion </li></ul><ul><li>Spiritual vs. carnal </li></ul><ul><li>Justice vs. anarchy </li></ul>Dante the Man
    17. 17. <ul><li>Politics </li></ul><ul><li>Elected a prior of Florence </li></ul><ul><li>Rift with papal authority </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Pope Boniface VIII </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Guelphs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Whites </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Blacks </li></ul></ul></ul>Dante the Man
    18. 19. <ul><li>Main Characters </li></ul><ul><li>Dante (the journeying pilgrim) </li></ul><ul><li>Virgil of Mantua </li></ul><ul><li>Cast of sinners </li></ul>The Inferno The Inferno
    19. 20. <ul><li>Archetypes </li></ul><ul><li>Woods </li></ul><ul><li>Spirals </li></ul><ul><li>The head </li></ul><ul><li>Valleys </li></ul><ul><li>Water </li></ul><ul><li>Stars </li></ul><ul><li>The heroic journey </li></ul>The Inferno
    20. 21. <ul><li>Numerology </li></ul><ul><li>Trinity </li></ul><ul><li>3 </li></ul>The Inferno http://www.gotquestions.org/images/trinity.jpg The Inferno
    21. 22. <ul><li>Cosmology </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ptolemy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Celestial rings </li></ul></ul><ul><li>9 </li></ul>The Inferno http://astro.uchicago.edu/home/web/olinto/courses/A18200/greek_cosmos.jpg The Inferno
    22. 23. <ul><li>Macro Structure </li></ul><ul><li>Exit Presentation and Click  </li></ul>The Inferno The Inferno
    23. 24. <ul><li>Macro Structure </li></ul><ul><li>Progressive loss of freedom & increased misuse of the intellect </li></ul><ul><li>Upper Hell (Leopard?) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Weakness of flesh & mind </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Middle Hell (Lion?) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Willful disobedience </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Lower Hell (She-wolf?) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Betrayal </li></ul></ul>The Inferno The Inferno
    24. 25. The Inferno Circle 1 - Those in Limbo Circle 2 - The Lustful Circle 3 - The Gluttonous Circle 4 - The Hoarders Circle 5 - The Wrathful Circle 6 - The Heretics The Inferno
    25. 26. The Inferno <ul><li>Circle Seven - The Violent </li></ul><ul><li>Round 1. Murderers, robbers, and plunderers </li></ul><ul><li>Round 2. Suicides and those harmful to the world </li></ul><ul><li>Round 3. Those harmful against God, nature, and art, as well as usurers </li></ul>The Inferno
    26. 27. The Inferno <ul><li>Circle Eight - The Fraudulent </li></ul><ul><li>Bolge (Ditch) I. Panderers and Seducers </li></ul><ul><li>Bolge II. Flatterers </li></ul><ul><li>Bolge III. Simonists </li></ul><ul><li>Bolge IV. Sorcerers </li></ul><ul><li>Bolge V. Barrators </li></ul><ul><li>Bolge VI. Hypocrites </li></ul><ul><li>Bolge VII. Thieves </li></ul><ul><li>Bolge VIII. Counselors </li></ul><ul><li>Bolge IX. Sowers of Discord </li></ul><ul><li>Bolge X. Falsifiers </li></ul>The Inferno
    27. 28. The Inferno <ul><li>Circle Nine - Traitors </li></ul><ul><li>Region i: Traitors to kindred </li></ul><ul><li>Region ii: Traitors to country </li></ul><ul><li>Region iii: Traitors to guests </li></ul><ul><li>Region iv: Traitors to lords </li></ul>The Inferno
    28. 30. <ul><li>Macro Structure (cont.) </li></ul><ul><li>Cantos </li></ul><ul><li>Rivers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Acheron </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Styx </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Phlegethon </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pool of Cocytus </li></ul></ul>The Inferno The Inferno
    29. 31. <ul><li>Doomed souls embarking to cross ACHERON </li></ul>http://iws.ccccd.edu/Andrade/WorldLitI2332/Dante/inf_dore_03.078.jpeg
    30. 32. <ul><li>Dante and Virgil ferried across the river STYX </li></ul>
    31. 33. <ul><ul><li>The waterfall PHLEGETHON </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>flows to the pool of COCYTUS </li></ul></ul>By Henry Fuseli
    32. 34. <ul><li>Three aspects of Micro-Structure… </li></ul>The Inferno The Inferno
    33. 35. <ul><li>1. TERCET </li></ul><ul><li>A three-line stanza of any or no rhyme scheme </li></ul>The Inferno Along the journey of our life half way I found myself again in a dark wood Wherein the straight road no longer lay The Inferno
    34. 36. <ul><li>2. TERZA RIMA </li></ul><ul><li>Three-line tercets in interlocked rhyme: </li></ul>The Inferno The Inferno
    35. 37. <ul><li>TERZA RIMA </li></ul><ul><li>Three-line tercets in interlocked rhyme: </li></ul>The Inferno a b a The Inferno
    36. 38. <ul><li>TERZA RIMA </li></ul><ul><li>Three-line tercets in interlocked rhyme: </li></ul>The Inferno a b c a b b The Inferno
    37. 39. <ul><li>TERZA RIMA </li></ul><ul><li>Three-line tercets in interlocked rhyme: </li></ul>The Inferno a b c a b b c c d The Inferno
    38. 40. <ul><li>TERZA RIMA (Example) </li></ul><ul><li>Along the journey of our life half way................. Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita </li></ul><ul><li>I found myself again in a dark wood ...................... mi ritrovai per una selva oscura </li></ul><ul><li>Wherein the straight road no longer lay............. ché la diritta via era smarrita. </li></ul><ul><li>Ah, tongue can never make it understood :......... Ahi quanto a dir qual era è cosa dura   </li></ul><ul><li>So harsh and dense and savage to traverse ....... esta selva selvaggia e aspra e forte </li></ul><ul><li>That fear returns in thinking on that wood .......... che nel pensier rinova la paura ! </li></ul><ul><li>It is so bitter death is hardly worse .......................... Tant'è amara che poco è più morte ; </li></ul><ul><li>But, for the good it was my chance to gain,........ ma per trattar del ben ch'i' vi trovai, </li></ul><ul><li>The other things I saw there I'll rehearse ............. dirò de l'altre cose ch'i' v'ho scorte   </li></ul>The Inferno The Inferno
    39. 41. <ul><li>TERZA RIMA (Example) </li></ul><ul><li>Along the journey of our life half way.................Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita </li></ul><ul><li>I found myself again in a dark wood ......................mi ritrovai per una selva oscura </li></ul><ul><li>Wherein the straight road no longer lay.............ché la diritta via era smarrita. </li></ul><ul><li>Ah, tongue can never make it understood :.........Ahi quanto a dir qual era è cosa dura   </li></ul><ul><li>So harsh and dense and savage to traverse .......esta selva selvaggia e aspra e forte </li></ul><ul><li>That fear returns in thinking on that wood ..........che nel pensier rinova la paura ! </li></ul><ul><li>It is so bitter death is hardly worse ..........................Tant'è amara che poco è più morte ; </li></ul><ul><li>But, for the good it was my chance to gain,........ma per trattar del ben ch'i' vi trovai, </li></ul><ul><li>The other things I saw there I'll rehearse .............dirò de l'altre cose ch'i' v'ho scorte   </li></ul>The Inferno The Inferno
    40. 42. <ul><li>TERZA RIMA </li></ul><ul><li>Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita </li></ul><ul><li>mi ritrovai per una selva oscura </li></ul><ul><li>ché la diritta via era smarrita. </li></ul><ul><li>Ahi quanto a dir qual era è cosa dura   </li></ul><ul><li>esta selva selvaggia e aspra e forte </li></ul><ul><li>che nel pensier rinova la paura ! </li></ul><ul><li>Tant'è amara che poco è più morte ; </li></ul><ul><li>ma per trattar del ben ch'i' vi trovai , </li></ul><ul><li>dirò de l'altre cose ch'i' v'ho scorte   </li></ul>The Inferno a b c d The Inferno
    41. 43. <ul><li>TERZA RIMA </li></ul><ul><li>Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita </li></ul><ul><li>mi ritrovai per una selva oscura </li></ul><ul><li>ché la diritta via era smarrita. </li></ul><ul><li>Ahi quanto a dir qual era è cosa dura   </li></ul><ul><li>esta selva selvaggia e aspra e forte </li></ul><ul><li>che nel pensier rinova la paura ! </li></ul><ul><li>Tant'è amara che poco è più morte ; </li></ul><ul><li>ma per trattar del ben ch'i' vi trovai , </li></ul><ul><li>dirò de l'altre cose ch'i' v'ho scorte   </li></ul>The Inferno a b c d d The Inferno
    42. 44. <ul><li>TERZA RIMA using Pinksy’s slant rhyme </li></ul><ul><li>Midway on our life's journey, I found myself                       </li></ul><ul><li>In dark woods, the right road lost. To tell </li></ul><ul><li>About those woods is hard--so tangled and rough </li></ul><ul><li>And savage that thinking of it now, I feel </li></ul><ul><li>The old fear stirring: death is hardly more bitter .            </li></ul><ul><li>And yet, to treat the good I found there as well </li></ul><ul><li>I'll tell what I saw, though how I came to enter </li></ul><ul><li>I cannot well say, being so full of sleep </li></ul><ul><li>Whatever moment it was I began to blunder </li></ul>The Inferno The Inferno
    43. 45. <ul><ul><li>3. HENDECASYLLABIC METER </li></ul></ul>The Inferno <ul><ul><li>Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita </li></ul></ul>??? The Inferno
    44. 46. The Inferno <ul><ul><li>Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita </li></ul></ul>IAMBIC hendecameter / u u u u u u / / / / <ul><ul><li>3. HENDECASYLLABIC METER </li></ul></ul>The Inferno
    45. 47. <ul><li>Roman Mythological Allusions </li></ul><ul><li>Ulysses (Odysseus) </li></ul><ul><li>Juno (Hera) </li></ul><ul><li>Jupiter (Zeus) </li></ul><ul><li>Minotaur </li></ul>The Inferno The Inferno
    46. 48. <ul><li>Literary Terms </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Hierarchy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Apostrophe </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Contrapasso </li></ul></ul>The Inferno The Inferno
    47. 49. <ul><li>“ In the middle of the journey of our life, </li></ul><ul><li>Goes to sunlight hill (sees paradise) but cannot get there through his own willpower </li></ul><ul><li>Leopard </li></ul><ul><li>Lion </li></ul><ul><li>She-wolf– drives him back to the valley of the shadow of death </li></ul><ul><li>Virgil </li></ul>The Inferno The Inferno
    48. 50. <ul><li>Important Locales </li></ul><ul><li>Nowhere Land </li></ul><ul><li>Limbo </li></ul><ul><li>Malabolge </li></ul><ul><li>City of Dis </li></ul>The Inferno The Inferno
    49. 51. <ul><li>Episodic Highlights </li></ul>The Inferno
    50. 52. <ul><li>The lovers </li></ul><ul><li>Paolo </li></ul><ul><li>& </li></ul><ul><li>Francesca </li></ul>The Inferno
    51. 53. <ul><li>Uberti addresses Dante </li></ul>The Inferno
    52. 54. <ul><li>Brunetto Latini visits with Dante </li></ul>The Inferno
    53. 55. <ul><li>Dante addresses Pope Nicolas III </li></ul>The Inferno
    54. 56. <ul><li>Dante and Virgil look down at Ulysses </li></ul>The Inferno
    55. 57. <ul><li>Ugolino gnawing Ruggieri’s brain stem </li></ul>The Inferno
    56. 58. <ul><li>Subtitle </li></ul><ul><li>THE VISION OF HELL, Complete By Dante Alighieri, Illustrated by Dore </li></ul><ul><li>http://beryl.ils.unc.edu/~widger/folder2/dore/hel1110h/hel1110h.htm </li></ul>The Inferno
    57. 59. <ul><li>After Reading…. </li></ul>The Inferno
    58. 60. <ul><li>After Reading… </li></ul><ul><li>Discussion Questions </li></ul><ul><li>Why does Dante have the pilgrim's story begin &quot;Midway along the journey of our life&quot; (p. 67)? </li></ul><ul><li>What is the relationship between the pilgrim and Virgil? </li></ul><ul><li>Why is it specifically the sounds made by the damned that give the pilgrim his first impression of Hell? </li></ul><ul><li>Why does the pilgrim meet only eminent sinners? </li></ul><ul><li>Why are the damned allowed knowledge of only the past and future, but not the present? </li></ul><ul><li>In Canto VIII, why does the appearance of Filippo Argenti provoke an angry outburst from the pilgrim: &quot;May you weep and wail,/ stuck here in this place forever, you damned soul&quot; (p. 139)? Why is Virgil pleased by the pilgrim's reaction? </li></ul><ul><li>Why does the poet still grieve when he thinks of the three sinners who greet him in Canto XVI even though, following his journey through Hell, he is supposed to have come to appreciate the justice of God's punishments? </li></ul><ul><li>In light of the poet's repeated assurances to the reader of the truth of what he writes, in what sense does Dante intend us to accept Inferno (and the whole Comedy) as &quot;true&quot;? </li></ul><ul><li>After the autobiographical reference in Canto XIX to an incident in which Dante smashed a baptistery to save someone from drowning, what does Dante mean when he writes, &quot;let this be mankind's picture of the truth&quot; (p. 240)? </li></ul><ul><li>How are we meant to understand the journey of Ulysses, which he narrates in Canto XXVI, in relation to that of the pilgrim? </li></ul><ul><li>What does Virgil mean when he says that the pilgrim is in Hell so that &quot;he may have full experience&quot; (p. 326)? </li></ul><ul><li>Why does Dante describe the pilgrim as &quot;deprived of life and death at once&quot; when he finally encounters Lucifer (p. 380)? </li></ul><ul><li>To what extent does Dante intend us to see Inferno as a representation of this life, in addition to—or instead of—the afterlife? </li></ul><ul><li>If the pilgrim's journey through Hell is meant to be instructive, what is the most important thing he has learned by the end of it? </li></ul><ul><li>For Further Reflection </li></ul><ul><li>Are we more likely to be deterred from wrongdoing because of the consequences to others or the consequences to ourselves? </li></ul><ul><li>What is significant about the midpoint of a life? Is the significance of the concept undermined by the fact that the midpoint of a life can never be precisely determined until death? </li></ul>The Inferno

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