Study Questions & Essay Topics
1. Describe the narrative form of Inferno. How is it tied to the poem’s geographical structure? How is it tied to the poem’s central theme?
2. Think about the role of character, apart from setting and story, in Inferno. Does the poem contain any character development?
3. What is the role of politics in Inferno? How does it relate to the poem’s theme of divine justice?
Suggested Essay Topics
1. In what way is Inferno a work of imagination and art rather than one of religion and philosophy alone? How do the poem’s fantastic, imaginative, and dramatic elements contribute to its overall effectiveness?
2. What role does Aristotle’s philosophy play in the moral scheme of Inferno? How does it affect the poem’s treatment of religious doctrine and Scripture?
3. What are some of the styles that Dante uses in Inferno? What are some of the literary traditions to which the poem belongs? How does Dante’s stylistic diversity affect his larger presentation of Hell?
4. How does allegory function in Inferno? Think about the subject on both a universal level (Inferno as an Everyman story) and a particular level (the correspondence between specific punishments and specific sins).