Inferno Canto 2




Anthony Nussmeier is an Associate Professor of Italian and the Director of the Italian Language program at the University of Dallas. He regularly teachers classes abroad in Florence and is an expert in Dante, Medieval Literature, and Italian pedagogy.

Questions for Reflection

  • Why does Dante slide into cowardice at the outset of his journey into hell and what does this reveal about the divided character of his will (2.37)?
  • What does Dante’s cowardice and divided will reveal about the diligence and fortitude needed for living out the Christian life?
  • Who are the three heavenly women who instigate Dante’s salvific journey with Virgil? Why these three figures? How do they correspond to the three beasts of the previous canto? What role do their compassion, hope, and tears play in this canto?
  • What does Dante’s depiction of the heavenly women show us about how he imagines the relationship between the blessed in heaven and those lost and wandering on earth? How might we better image that heavenly attitude in our lives?


  • Dr. Anthony Nussmeier
  • University of Dallas
  • Run Time 9:33