Shahnameh and Inferno

For this assignment, you may either write a 4-5 paragraph essay in the same manner as you did for Writing Assignment #1 on one of the topics below, or you can create a PowerPoint presentation on one of those topics. If you decide to write an essay, don’t forget to review the guidelines for How to Succeed in the Written Assignments and the Sample paper in MLA format, and take advantage of the Smart thinking tutorial services before submitting your essay to the Assignment submission folder.

All writing assignments have Turnitin enabled for plagiarism detection.If you wish to create a PowerPoint, follow the directions given after the topics below.

  1. Unit 1B’s introduction to the Five Great Themes of World Literature states with regard to the hero: “The surest way to understand what a culture of the past most values is to focus on what it considers heroic, in that a culture recognizes its heroes as embodying its most important ideas, the values that are essential.” Discuss the diverse values that our two epic heroes, Rustem and Dante, embody. Which values embodied by these epic heroes are endorsed or celebrated by their societies? Are any of their values condemned or rejected by their societies? Illustrate your discussion with specific examples of the heroes’ obligations to their societies and what their values reflect about their cultures.
  2. Although two very different literary works, both the Shahnameh and Infernodeal centrally with the existence of human suffering and mortality. Discuss how the two deal with such issues as
  • what causes human suffering;
  • what seems inevitably tragic about human existence;
  • how one should deal with suffering;
  • what one should learn from an understanding of human mortality.

From the Shahnameh your essay will of course focus on Rustem; for Dante, you have many options, but the following characters and their sad stories make especially good choices for the subject (but you can choose others if you wish; just one will do): Virgil, Francesca, Pier della Vigna, Brunetto Latini, Guido de Montefeltro.

PowerPoint Option:

If you wish to do a PowerPoint option instead of an essay, here are the expectations:

Your PowerPoint should include text and images that illustrate and enhance the points you are making.


  1. Explain the general topic (e.g. heroes, suffering) and any relevant terms for that topic (suggested 1-2 slides).
  2. Apply that topic to both Shahnameh and to Inferno (suggested 4-6 slides). Give specific examples and quotes from the text to illustrate your points.


Shahnemeh: five chapters, RustemThe March into MazinderanKai Kaous Committeth More FolliesRustemand Sohrab, and Saiawush.

Inferno:… Cantos I-IX (Beginning and Sins of Incontinence); XII, XIII, XV (Sins of Violence); XXVI, XXVII, XXXI-XXXIV (Sins of Fraud and Treachery).



Last Updated on March 1, 2019

Don`t copy text!