A Storybook Romance: Dante's Paolo and Francesca

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  • Jul 23 2010 7:42 PM

    Matching // Celeste Higby

    This resource was matched by a member of the Brokers of Expertise Standards Matching Team.

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This lesson from EDSITEment highlights one episode in the "Divine Comedy" to provide students with an introduction to Dante's great poem. After a brief introduction to the opening of the "Divine Comedy," which portrays Dante as a pilgrim guided by the poet Virgil on a journey through the Christian afterlife toward God, students read Canto 5 of the "Inferno," which comes near the beginning of Dante's descent into Hell. Students refer to a diagram of Dante's underworld to understand the role of Minos at the start of this canto, then analyze Dante's description of the storm-tossed souls he encounters in order to gain further insight into his allegorical method. Next, students identify the famous lovers who set the stage for Paolo and Francesca, and consider how they lend a literary dimension to our perception of this pair. Finally, students examine Francesca's "confession," comparing the philosophical style in which she first describes her love affair with the story-telling style she uses to describe what actually occurred. To conclude the lesson, students compare the effect that Lancelot's story had on Paolo and Francesca with the effect their story has on Dante in the poem, and the effect this layered episode has on Dante's readers today. Less

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    Grade: 9 to 12

    Topics: Reading Comprehension, History-Social Science, English-Language Arts, World History, Writing Strategies, Literature

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