Monday, February 15, 2021

FREE LANGUAGE ARTS LESSON - “Inferno Analysis Questions Cantos 1-3”

by Adam Horowitz
12th Grade

These questions are all designed to assist students in getting the most out of a single reading of Dante Alighieri’s The Inferno. All questions place a special emphasis on higher order thinking, as well as College Board’s AP literature expectations in regards to making inferences, understanding irony, and in general a rather rigorous, college-level approach to literature. These materials can be used for Honors classes as well, for any teacher looking to give their students the kind of push that the new Common Core standards are aiming for.

Note that some of the questions are a bit more factually based than my typical novel questions, as part of the experience of reading Dante, besides understanding the complexities of all of his thematic intent, is the sheer wealth of knowledge he provides about mythology, Florentine politics, religion, and the literature of his day. So several questions for each canto are written to help students pick out the most relevant of this information.

I have been teaching for 16 years, including several years teaching English Honors IV, as well as creating my own very successful Advanced Placement Literature program from scratch nine years ago. I have a Masters in Creative Writing, and thought I would make some of my materials available for purchase.

If you end up using the materials, please leave feedback about your experience. My name is Adam Horowitz, and I'm a sixteen year educator. You can e-mail me with questions at

All questions were written using the Signet Classics Edition of The Inferno, translated into modern English by John Ciardi. These could easily be adapted to use with other translations or versions, however, the accompanying page numbers would need some adjusting.

These questions are also designed to be used in conjunction with a 100 question (and 70 question, shorter period version) Inferno test. This test includes multiple choice questions based on 3 analysis questions sampled from every canto. It also includes canto and question number references so students can take the test with their analysis questions handy (though they are limited by time). It can easily be adjusted to eliminate the open note component.

There is also a second test assessment which I call my “Structure of Hell” test. This was written as a PowerPoint, and is designed to assess students’ understandings of Dante’s vision of Hell, specifically the various divisions, sinners found there, nature of their punishments, and most importantly, the irony corresponding punishment to sinner.

Finally, in the complete novel package, I have included all questions, tests, some quizzes, a how-to-read The Inferno guide for students, background notes, and a background note assessment. Check out the description for more info.

If you’re tired of students simply SparkNoting through literature, consider giving my materials a try.

Inferno Analysis Questions Cantos 10-12 by Adam Horowitz is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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1 comment:

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