1. We have watched three movies about life in the GDR this semester: Trace of Stones (1966), Good Bye, Lenin! (2003), and The Lives of Others (2006). How do

these movies represent life in the GDR? What positive and negative aspects of the GDR do they focus on? What attitudes towards the GDR do they reflect? Please

also take the socio-historical context in which these three films were produced and their chronology into consideration. What cinematic devices do these three

films use to convey their particular image of the GDR? Please compare and contrast the three films and comment in detail on the similarities and differences

of how at least one particular element of cinematography is used in all three films and to what effects (e.g. themes, characters, setting, comedic elements,

endings, music, camera and other cinematic devices).

Please write at least 250 words. Avoid quoting directly and use your own words instead.

  1. If you had to pick one topic (other than the GDR) that has recurred in our discussions after the midterm, which one would you choose and why? What have you

learned about this topic from our course. How does this relate to your own life? Please recollect the most important points in our discussions of the topic,

and refer to at least three movies that we have discussed in the second half of the semester, i.e. three (3) of the following seven films: The Bridge;

Aguirre, the Wrath of God; Wings of Desire; Good, Bye, Lenin!; Head-On; The Lives of Others.

Please write at least 250 words. Avoid quoting directly and use your own words instead.

Out of the films that we watched this semester, which one of these is your favorite movie and why? Why do you think that this particular film is superior in

comparison to the other films we watched after the midterm? What elements of the cinematography did you find especially effective? Please make sure to comment

in detail on at least one cinematic device that the film uses particularly well and explain how the film does this and to what effect. What questions does the

film explore? Do you find the film of your choice particularly interesting from a moral-philosophical, political, social, historical, or other perspective?

What part of the story told by the movie was the most powerful for you and why? In your opinion, does the film have a message? What did you learn from this

movie about German culture, and how does the film relate to your own life? Do you think that this film is still relevant for us today?

Sample Solution

Sample solution

Dante Alighieri played a critical role in the literature world through his poem Divine Comedy that was written in the 14th century. The poem contains Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso. The Inferno is a description of the nine circles of torment that are found on the earth. It depicts the realms of the people that have gone against the spiritual values and who, instead, have chosen bestial appetite, violence, or fraud and malice. The nine circles of hell are limbo, lust, gluttony, greed and wrath. Others are heresy, violence, fraud, and treachery. The purpose of this paper is to examine the Dante’s Inferno in the perspective of its portrayal of God’s image and the justification of hell. 

In this epic poem, God is portrayed as a super being guilty of multiple weaknesses including being egotistic, unjust, and hypocritical. Dante, in this poem, depicts God as being more human than divine by challenging God’s omnipotence. Additionally, the manner in which Dante describes Hell is in full contradiction to the morals of God as written in the Bible. When god arranges Hell to flatter Himself, He commits egotism, a sin that is common among human beings (Cheney, 2016). The weakness is depicted in Limbo and on the Gate of Hell where, for instance, God sends those who do not worship Him to Hell. This implies that failure to worship Him is a sin.

God is also depicted as lacking justice in His actions thus removing the godly image. The injustice is portrayed by the manner in which the sodomites and opportunists are treated. The opportunists are subjected to banner chasing in their lives after death followed by being stung by insects and maggots. They are known to having done neither good nor bad during their lifetimes and, therefore, justice could have demanded that they be granted a neutral punishment having lived a neutral life. The sodomites are also punished unfairly by God when Brunetto Lattini is condemned to hell despite being a good leader (Babor, T. F., McGovern, T., & Robaina, K. (2017). While he commited sodomy, God chooses to ignore all the other good deeds that Brunetto did.

Finally, God is also portrayed as being hypocritical in His actions, a sin that further diminishes His godliness and makes Him more human. A case in point is when God condemns the sin of egotism and goes ahead to commit it repeatedly. Proverbs 29:23 states that “arrogance will bring your downfall, but if you are humble, you will be respected.” When Slattery condemns Dante’s human state as being weak, doubtful, and limited, he is proving God’s hypocrisy because He is also human (Verdicchio, 2015). The actions of God in Hell as portrayed by Dante are inconsistent with the Biblical literature. Both Dante and God are prone to making mistakes, something common among human beings thus making God more human.

To wrap it up, Dante portrays God is more human since He commits the same sins that humans commit: egotism, hypocrisy, and injustice. Hell is justified as being a destination for victims of the mistakes committed by God. The Hell is presented as being a totally different place as compared to what is written about it in the Bible. As a result, reading through the text gives an image of God who is prone to the very mistakes common to humans thus ripping Him off His lofty status of divine and, instead, making Him a mere human. Whether or not Dante did it intentionally is subject to debate but one thing is clear in the poem: the misconstrued notion of God is revealed to future generations.



Babor, T. F., McGovern, T., & Robaina, K. (2017). Dante’s inferno: Seven deadly sins in scientific publishing and how to avoid them. Addiction Science: A Guide for the Perplexed, 267.

Cheney, L. D. G. (2016). Illustrations for Dante’s Inferno: A Comparative Study of Sandro Botticelli, Giovanni Stradano, and Federico Zuccaro. Cultural and Religious Studies4(8), 487.

Verdicchio, M. (2015). Irony and Desire in Dante’s” Inferno” 27. Italica, 285-297.