Morality Unit 13
After reading Canto I, lines 1-60, have students answer the following questions to prepare for class discussion.
What situation does the first stanza describe?
What caused the character to abandon “the straight road” for the “dark wood”?
What sight arouses his hope? Why?
What prevents him from leaving the wood?
What words convey the wood’s threatening qualities?
An allegory is a story that can be read on two levels, literal and symbolic. Explain the symbolism in this passage: the dark forest, sun-topped hill, the beasts (leopard, lion, she-wolf), Virgil, Beatrice.
Why did Dante call his poem a comedy?
Conduct a whole class discussion based on the questions presented for Canto I. Evaluate students on their participation and ideas presented in the class discussion.
Teaching and Collaborative Pairs:
Read Canto III lines 1-66 as a class and allow students to work with their collaborative partner to answer the questions that follow to prepare for a class discussion.
1. Read aloud the inscription of the Gate of Hell. What does it mean? How does it affect both Dante and the reader?
2. What words in the inscription suggest that hell is an organized structure?
3. In lines 12-15, what does Virgil insist that Dante needs? Why?
4. Why are some souls caught just outside of hell?
5. What sensory images does Dante use to emphasize the horror in the scene?
6. Dante concludes The Inferno with a description of his flight from the agonized realm of doomed souls back to the world of the living. How would you explain his eager and grateful response to a starlit earth?
Conduct whole-class discussion and check for understanding of concepts through observation.