Tuesday, October 1, 2013

IB: Questions on the Inferno

Three sets of questions to consider for Thursday:
  • What is the significance of the three symbolic beasts which Dante encounters before entering hell? What about the mountain which he is unable to climb? How do these symbols relate to the issues of responsibility for Dante's entrance into Hell?
  • Why is Dante allowed to enter the Underworld while he is still alive? Why does he suggest that he entered Hell "midway in our life's journey?" What may this imply regarding the character of the journey and its relation to the concepts of the first and second deaths? Are there any other "living" characters in Hell besides Dante? What does this imply regarding Dante's symbolism of Hell and damnation? When does one enter Hell? At what points is it still possible to get out? When does it become impossible to escape?
  • What is the symbolic significance of Cocytus, the frozen lake at the bottom of Hell? What about the figure of Satan himself, trapped at the center of the lake? Why is it surprising for the reader to discover that the bottom of Hell is frozen solid? What does the cold symbolize? In what way does the place affect Dante?
You do not need to address each question specifically or individually; rather, use the questions as a general guide for the direction of the essay you plan to write.

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