Dante's Inferno Canto 13 Questions and Answers

Dante Alighieri

Canto 13 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. In line 94 a reference is made to Minos. Who is Minos?

2. In line 64 a reference is made to a harlot. Who is this harlot?

3. Why is Dante reluctant to speak to the trees?

4. A reference is made in line 8 to a place between Corveto and Cecina. What does this mean?

5. Canto XIII concludes with a reference to the fact that the shade made a scaffold of his roof-tree. What does this mean?

6. Why does Virgil ask Dante to pluck a small branch or twig from a tree?

7. Describe in detail the Harpies mentioned in Canto XIII.

8. In Canto XIII what comes forth from a tree in the woods if a branch is plucked?

9. What is meant by the phrase that suggests Florence changed her patron for the Baptist?

10. What do the Harpies eat?

Answers
1. Minos is a judge in the underworld.

2. The harlot is Envy.

3. Dante’s heart is so filled with pity that he is reluctant to ask further questions.

4. The reference in line 8 is to a place between the River Cecina and the town of Corveto.

5. The one who made a scaffold of his roof-tree had committed suicide by hanging.

6. When Dante cannot decide from where the sounds in the forest are coming from, Virgil asks Dante to pluck from
the tree.

7. The Harpies had bodies of birds, heads of women, sharp claws of steel, and shrieking voices.

8. Blood and voices come from a tree in the woods of Canto XIII when a branch is plucked.

9. The reference to the Baptist is a reference to John the Baptist, for whom a church in Florence is named.

10. The Harpies eat the foliage from the trees; this causes agony to the trees.