• 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.

Learning Target: I will argue whether Dante’s law of symbolic retribution applies to the 9th circle of Hell and analyze how Dante develops the theme of symbolic retribution in the final portion of the text.

Opening Session: Let’s look at this video from Lady Gaga, a song you might know called “Judas.” I want to activate some prior knowledge here – do you guys know who Judas was? What did he do, who did he betray? Can you think of any other betrayal that was quite that important to history? Dante thought of one – can you guess who?

Work Session: Welcome to Circle 9: BETRAYAL. I know, you’ve been dying to get here, right? (ba-dum TISS!)

Today we delve into the deepest reaches of Hell – Circle 9, Canto XXXIV. We’re going to be reading it together out of the textbook today, closely working through the poetry as Dante surmounts the most difficult obstacle of all, Satan himself. And as we end our reading and Dante walks out of the cave and looks up at those beautiful stars, I want you to consider…. that’s it. You’re done. You’ve journeyed through a harrowing week, nay, a harrowing SEMESTER of World Lit, and now, we have but a mere three and a half weeks left before winter vacation.

Of course we do have another unit after this one, and and Dante’s test still to do – but right now, let’s talk about theme!

Now that we’ve finished Dante’s Inferno, discussing all along the way about the theme of symbolic retribution, I want you to consider how Dante has represented that theme throughout the story and specifically in circle 9 of Hell. Today I would like to see some writing from you. Compose a short essay – 3-4 paragraphs – on the theme of symbolic retribution in circle 9 of Hell. Specifically, I’d like you to consider your knowledge of Brutus and Cassius from our earlier reading of Julius Caesar as well as your knowledge of the story of Judas, and then I’d like you to answer the following prompt:

  • Did Brutus and Cassius deserve what they got?Was their sin of backstabbing Caesar as bad as Judas’s sin of backstabbing Jesus? Are they really the WORST people that have ever lived? Are the traitors against their masters really the worst sinners of all? Why did Dante choose to put these two people in the deepest depths of hell? Do you think Dante accurately represents his theme of symbolic retribution (the punishment fits the crime) in the 9th circle of Hell?

You guys will have a sheet to work on this essay with some framework on it, and you’ll have a pretty good chunk of class to write!

Finally, as we end the day, I want to ask for a little feedback for me. I taught this unit differently this semester than I have in the past, and I wonder if you guys liked it. Could you include what activities you liked and didn’t like in your writing today? I have a short survey for you!

Closing Session: Do your LAST poster activity!! WHOOOOOO!!!

Differentiation: Readiness (varied reading lengths); process (essay frameworks).

Assessment: Writing will be graded.

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