The “Maze” in Westworld

Cristian Ispir, Associate Fellow of the Centre de Recherche Universitaire Lorrain d’Histoire, writes, “The influence of Dante on the HBO series Westworld is as subtle as it is undeniable. The focal point of Season 1 is the ‘Maze’, an elusive place/concept represented by a schematic labyrinth having a human figure at its centre, analogous to the human effigy in Paradiso 33 (“painted with our effigy” [Par. 33.131]) which symbolises the accomplishment of human self-understanding and the end-point of Dante’s upward journey. In the simulacrum that is Westworld, the Dantean idea of reaching self-knowledge through a labyrinthine guided pilgrimage is key to the emancipation of the artificial ‘hosts’ from the engineered universe they inhabit and a kind of trasumanar available to each agent endowed with free will. The Westworld theme park becomes an existential iteration of the Comedy moving through vertical worlds away from ignorance and towards self-realisation.”

See Cristian Ispir’s blog Biblonia, where he often posts on Dante.