World Lit: Introducing Dante’s Inferno!


  • ELAGSE9-10RL6 Analyze a particular point of view or cultural experience reflected in a work of literature from outside the United States, drawing on a wide reading of world literature. Georgia ELA
  • ELAGSE9-10RL2 Determine a theme or central idea of text and closely analyze its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text. Georgia ELA

Learning Target
I can understand the background and historical context of Dante’s Inferno and the cultural experiences that led Dante to write the story.
Opening Session
This is a trailer for the video game Inferno, which should give you an idea of how cool this upcoming reading will be!

Work Session
We are starting off today by taking a few background notes from this lovely presentation: and using this lovely guided notes sheet: The idea here is to give you some background info on the story and who Dante was. When we finish that, we’re going read Canto I and then we’re going to start a big collaborative poster project! Here’s the skinny:

Dante’s Inferno Collaborative Poster

Directions: Choose one of the following activities for our collaborative posters. You will choose one activity for each poster, and each poster will have a different activity (that means you eventually have to do all 9!). You may do them in any order, but you may not repeat. Check them off as you go. These will be your tickets out the door for the unit.

  • Draw an illustration for the circle
  • Write a paragraph summarizing the sins and punishments
  • Find 5 vocabulary words and write them with their definitions (Circle 1, 2, or 9)
  • Write two tercets in Dante’s style about the circle
  • Find an allusion (check the footnotes!) and explain it (Circle 1, 2, or 9)
  • Write a paragraph explaining how this circle shows the law of symbolic retribution
  • Come up with a celebrity or historical figure for this circle and explain who they are and why they deserve to be in this circle of Hell.
  • Pick 3 tersets and rewrite them in modern language (Circle 1, 2, or 9)
  • Write 3 multiple choice questions about this circle

You’ll do each of those activities by the end of the unit, but since everyone will be doing them in whatever order they choose, our posters will all end up as sort of a patchwork of information about the story. I’ll give you a quarter-sheet of paper to do each activity, and when we finish, we will put them up in the hallway!!

After we do some background and hear about the poster project, we will start right off with the introductory Canto and then read Canto III, which describes Circle 1 of Hell (Limbo – The Opportunists). We will hopefully be able to get through both Cantos today, but even if we can’t, you should still have a good enough understanding to do that poster activity for today 🙂

Closing Session
Ticket out the door – choose your poster activity for the day and complete it, then hang it on the board.

Formative (TOTD, class discussions, note checks)

Process (guided notes); Product (choice of poster activity)

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