Canto 1 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. What was Virgil’s occupation? When and where did he live?

2. Where did Virgil tell Dante that joy and its beginning could be found?

3. Name the creatures that Dante finds in the woods.

4. Which creature was the most horrible and why?

5. Dante felt fear for many reasons. What were some of these reasons?

6. Why did Dante not know how he got into the woods?

7. What helped Dante to feel hope?

8. What did Virgil say they would see and hear on the journey?

9. Why did Virgil explain that some sufferers were happy in their pain?

10. Virgil said he would guide Dante on a journey but Virgil would have to turn back at one point. Where would Virgil stop with Dante?

Answers
1. Virgil was a poet in ancient Rome.

2. Virgil told Dante that joy and its beginning could be found on the mountain.

3. Dante finds a leopard, a lion, and a wolf in the woods.

4. The wolf was the most horrible since it was greedy and never satisfied; it represented sins of age.

5. Dante felt fear from being lost, from being in the woods, from the three creatures he saw, and from the darkness of sin and the night.

6. Dante became lost because he was not paying attention; he strayed farther and farther before he became aware of his errors. He was lost in sin and lost in the dark valley.

7. Dante felt hope when he saw the sun and encountered Virgil. Dante’s hope was increased when Virgil said that he would serve as Dante’s guide.

8. Virgil said they would gaze on those in the fire and hear the despairing cries of those in the pit before Dante would climb higher.

9. Some sufferers were happy to be in pain for they looked forward to rising ultimately to a glad place.

10. Virgil would turn back at the gates of Heaven.