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Morality Unit  14


Point out to students that in Canto V Dante descends to the second circle, the beginning of the souls who have damned themselves by their sin. Show students artists’ renditions of Minos in The Inferno. Read the myth of Minos to students.  

Collaborative Pairs

Read through line 24, Minos’s appearance, with students. Have them think-pair-share their answers from the Canto V questionnaire (See Appendix F).

Read lines 25-45, Dante’s description of Hell, focusing on the landscape he sets before our eyes and the physical impression he creates using similes and comparisons. Have students think-pair-share their answers from the Canto V questionnaire (See Appendix F).

Read about the parade of famous lovers (lines 52-67) and the pilgrim’s reaction to them (lines 70-72). Have students think-pair-share their reactions to the questions on the Canto V questionnaire (See Appendix F).

Formative Assessment:

Observe student answers and behaviors when sharing their answers. Call on non-participating students and extend thinking with probing, eliciting questions.


Read the remainder of Canto V with students. It relates the story of Paolo and Francesca, one of the most admired episodes in the poem. Ask students their opinion of Francesca. Is she a victim of  circumstances as she seems to suggest? A victim of love’s irresistible power? A tragic victim, damned by her own loving nature?

Group Work:

Have students look more closely at the role of Paolo and Francesca in the poem by completing the Francesca and Paolo assignment. Students work in small groups to complete the assignments. Students will then discuss their assigned topic with the class (See Appendix G).


After recovering from the conversation with Francesca, Dante descends to the third level where the gluttonous suffer. Read the excerpt from Canto VI with students.

On the seventh level, Dante finds a burning plain inhabited by souls guilty of various kinds of violence. Read the excerpt from Canto XIV with students.

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