Dante's Inferno Canto 12 Questions and Answers

Dante Alighieri

Canto 12 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Canto XII begins with a reference to a “Thing.” What is this thing? Describe it.

2. What natural disaster or occurrence has happened since Virgil’s trip to that area?

3. Who is the great Prince referred to in the Canto?

4. Who is the prey mentioned in Canto XII?

5. What is a centaur? Who is the leader or chief of the centaurs?

6. What is the task of the centaurs?

7. When they are walking together, Chiron reveals that he is aware of the fact that Dante is still alive. How does he know this?

8. When Chiron asks why Dante is there, how does Virgil respond to him?

9. Who are Nessus and Deianira?

10. At one point Virgil speaks of a woman who told him to bring Dante to Hell. Who is this woman?

Answers
1. The “Thing” is a Minotaur with the head of a bull and the body of a man.

2. A landslide has caused a rock to break in two and a wall to split.

3. The great Prince is a reference to Christ.

4. The prey is a reference to those taken from Hell by Christ.

5. A centaur has the head and upper torso of a man; the rest of its body is that of a horse. Chiron is the leader of the centaurs.

6. The centaurs use their bows and arrows to shoot those who try to raise themselves from the boiling blood.

7. Chiron knows that Dante is still alive because he can see that Dante’s feet move the rocks and stones when Dante walks.

8. Virgil responds that necessity brings Dante to this place.

9. Nessus is the centaur who had attempted to steal Deianira, Hercules’ wife.

10. The woman of whom Virgil speaks is Beatrice.