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Activity Overview


When studying allegorical texts, it is important that students understand the concept as a foundation for the reading. An allegory is like an extended metaphor, where elements of the story are symbolic of a deeper meaning. Since allegories are works that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning (usually moral or political), it is important that students engage not only with the surface details, but with this deeper level as well.

In Inferno, Dante uses the allegory of his own journey through Hell to reflect the spiritual journey that leads to better understanding and acceptance of one’s own situation in life. Dante chooses a revered poet to represent Human Reason and bring him away from Error caused by Worldliness, through Hell (the representation of the Recognition of Sin), and as far into Purgatory (the representation of Christian Life), as he can go. Virgil leads Dante to Beatrice, who represents Divine Love, which is the only virtue that can finally unite the eternal soul with God.

As a lesson, teachers can ask students to create a storyboard that highlights these important symbolic people and places throughout Dante’s journey.


Example Allegory in Inferno

Dark Wood of ErrorThe mistakes that lead Dante and every person into a bad choice, or a bad situation in life.
Mount of JoyRepresents Heaven and the pinnacle for the spirit’s journey; this is where God is, and the Mountain is the spiritual journey to reach Him.
Three Beasts of WorldlinessThese three beasts represent worldly sins that have blocked Dante on his path of a righteous life: malice, fraud, violence, ambition, and lack of carnal self-restraint (incontinence).
HellHell is an allegory for Sin and its consequences. For Dante, it is the understanding that sin begets suffering, and if he continues on his path of Worldliness, his eternal separation from God will be inevitable.

Other allegorical symbols to include: Virgil, Beatrice, Dante himself.

Lesson Plan Reference

Grade Level 9-12

Difficulty Level 3 (Developing to Mastery)

Type of Assignment Individual or Partner

Type of Activity: Allegory

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/W/9-10/2] Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content
  • [ELA-Literacy/W/9-10/4] Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1–3 above.)
  • [ELA-Literacy/W/9-10/6] Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products, taking advantage of technology’s capacity to link to other information and to display information flexibly and dynamically


Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Use This Assignment With My Students", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)



Student Instructions

Create a storyboard that shows examples of allegory in Dante's Inferno.


  1. Identify instances of allegory in the text.
  2. Depict and describe the example of allegory from the text on the left side.
  3. Depict and describe the reference to the larger issue or event on the right side.


Rubric

(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)



Allegory
Allegories rely on extensive symbolic meaning to convey their messages. Create a storyboard that tracks the allegorical references in the text and links them to their real-world examples. For each allegory, create a scene that depicts the original example of how it appears in the text, along with a quote and some background information. Then, create a scene that depicts the real-world example of that allegory. In a short analysis, discuss the impact of the allegory on the deeper meaning of the work as a whole.
Proficient
20 Points
Emerging
17 Points
Beginning
13 Points
Try Again
10 Points
Allegory Identification and Completion
The allegories identified are correct, and all major/important allegories in the text have been addressed. There is a quote or summary provided with each allegory.
Most of the allegories identified are correct, and all major/important allegories in the text have been addressed. There is a quote or summary provided with each allegory.
Most of the allegories identified are incorrect, or some of the major/important allegories in the text are not addressed. Quotes or summaries may not be provided for all of the identified allegories.
Most of the allegories identified are incorrect, or the major/important allegories may be missing, or the allegories provided are too limited to score. Quotes or summaries may be missing or too limited to score.
Real-World Examples Identification and Completion
The real-world examples connected to each allegory are correct, showing a thoughtful correlation between the two.
Most of the real-world examples connected to each allegory are correct, and show a correlation between the two.
Most of the real-world examples connected to each allegory are incorrect.
Most of the real-world examples connected to the allegories are missing or too limited to score.
Analysis of Allegory and Real-World Example
Analysis of allegories and real-world examples explores a connection between the two that adds insight to the understanding of the text as a whole.
Analysis of allegories and real-world examples shows a connection between the two. There is a basic discussion of how the allegory adds to the understanding of the text as a whole.
Some analysis of allegories and the real-world examples is minimal, unclear, or incorrect. There is an attempt of discussion of how the allegory adds to the understanding of the text as a whole.
Most of the analysis of the allegories and the real-world examples is minimal, unclear, incorrect, or too limited to score. There is no attempt of discussion of how the allegory adds to the understanding of the text as a whole.
Artistic Depictions
The art chosen to depict the allegories and the real-world examples are historically appropriate to both the allegory, the work of literature, and the real-world example. It is evident that the student spent a lot of time, creativity, and effort into carefully crafting each artistic depiction.
The art chosen to depict the allegories and the real-world examples should be historically appropriate, but there may be some liberties taken that distract from the assignment. It is evident that the student stayed on task and put time and effort into crafting each artistic depiction.
Most of the art chosen to depict the scenes are historically appropriate, but there are serious deviations that cause confusion or inaccuracies. The student may not have paid much attention to detail in crafting each depiction, and there may be evidence of rushing or limited effort.
Most of the art chosen to depict the scenes are historically inappropriate, missing, or too limited to score. It is evident that the student did not put a lot of time, effort, and creativity into crafting each artistic depiction.
English Conventions
Ideas are organized. Displays control of grammar, usage, and mechanics. Shows careful proofreading.
Ideas are organized. Contains few errors in grammar, usage and mechanics. Shows some proofreading.
Ideas are organized. Contains errors in grammar, usage and mechanics which interfere with communication. Shows a lack of proofreading.
Contains too many errors in grammar, usage and mechanics; (and/or) errors seriously interfere with communication. Shows a lack of proofreading.




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Image Attributions
  • Holy Cross at Sunrise • Sean MacEntee • License Attribution (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)


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