Purpose: This assignment will give you practice with using rhetorical techniques to support a persuasive argument. You will continue to synthesize sources—in this case, weaving them together and responding to them as you present your case. You’ll perfect your skills with direct quotation, paraphrase, and appropriate citation.

What to do:
The work you have completed up to this point in the semester has prepared you to join a conversation as an informed, experienced, and engaging writer. Among other things, you have identified relevant topics, gathered various types of information, and analyzed arguments. Your aim, now, will be to compose an argumentative essay in which you position yourself within an ongoing dialogue or debate related to the topic you have been pursuing all semester. Please consider the following as you undertake this assignment.
Focus: You will need a narrow, original focus that positions yourself within the ongoing dialogue. Simple pro/con statements should be avoided because they are too broad and lack insight.
Example: Many parents and conservatives commentators criticize Common Core for restricting teachers and making simple topics overly complicated. Yet Common Core is indeed working—teachers are digging deeper, test scores are rising, and the students are improving overall. If teachers could help spread the word of their success, perhaps they could change minds about the role of Common Core education in America.
Suggestions for getting to an original topic.
1. Address your ideas to an audience that hasn’t been part of the conversation before—i.e., Why should African American pastors care about the #metoo movement?
2. Add a concern to the topic that previous writers have not considered—i.e., How does active learning affect translingual students?
3. Apply the conversation to a local community—i.e., How can Auburn High students benefit from a limited offering of single gender science classes?
4. Help find a potential compromise between opposing views. Both sides can find common ground if they . . .
 Propose an original (but reasonable) solution to a problem.
English 1100 / Dr. Carrie Spell
Development: You should direct ideas toward a specific audience that you choose: who needs to be persuaded of your idea?
Introduction: Start by introducing your topic and defining the scope of your paper. Offer some background on your topic (appropriate for your audience) to get your audience interested.
Body: The body paragraphs should develop “reasons” (relying on logos, ethos, and pathos) to support your main idea. Back these reasons with evidence.
As you incorporate your source material, write in conversation with it– not only repeating the sources you agree with, but commenting on the sources, analyzing/evaluating them, extending them, and even criticizing them in ways that strengthen your position. Use sources to help set up potential counterarguments against your claim and then respond appropriately to strengthen your argument. Avoid dropping in sources without engaging with them on the page.
Conclusion: Ultimately, you should draw a conclusion about the topic that adds something new to the conversation. Conclude by answering the “so what” question and leaving your reader something to think about (such as pointing toward additional research and analysis that can be done to better understand the issue as part of an ongoing conversation).
Style: Write in a clear, precise, and energetic prose style appropriate for the audience you’ve chosen. Consider where you might expect this essay to be published and write for that publication and audience.
Conventions: Include a title that reflects the spirit and scope of the essay. The essay should be double-spaced, with one-inch margins, and in one of the following fonts: 12 point Times New Roman or Garamond or 10-point Georgia or Calibri. Follow MLA Format for all citations in-text and on the Works Cited page.
Grading: A separate rubric will explain criteria.


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.