Dante’s Inferno on Human Nature

Hum Con II Essay Assignment Spring 2020

Essay Prompt: According to Inferno or Paradise Lost, what does it mean to be human?

Step I: Essay Proposal                                      

For this first stage of the assignment, develop a one-page proposal in which you outline the distinct steps of the argument that you intend to make, the significant quotes that plan to include, and the potential objections or criticisms of your position.  Focus on one of the two texts – either Inferno or Paradise Lost – not both!  This assignment should be a deep textual analysis of a single text.  You can do outside research if you’d like, but it is not necessary.  Your primary evidence should be textual evidence from the poem itself.  Use in-line citations for the book/canto and lines you are quoting; for example, Satan’s “form had not yet lost/ All her original brightness nor appeared/ Less than an archangel ruined and th’ excess/ Of glory obscured” (I, 591-594).

For step two, write a rough draft, as close as you can to a full draft.  There is no page minimum, but the more you give me to comment on, the better the feedback you will get.  While I will make comments on the draft, please note: I will not edit your essay or pinpoint everything that you need to improve in order to get an A.  My comments will make suggestions on the kinds of problems you should address while revising; a thorough revision of the essay will be your responsibility. 

Submit a polished final six-to-eight-page essay.  No bibliography needed unless you have used sources other than the poem itself.

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