Paradiso 17 in t.v. show Community

In the TV Series Community Episode 12 of Season 5, “Basic Story,” an insurance appraiser goes to Greendale Community College to determine the value of the school. The appraiser climbs the first step of the school’s stairs and recites Paradiso XVII, 58-60.

Contributed by Chiara Montera (University of Pittsburgh ’21)

“(Almost) Everything I Know About Hell I Learned From Buffy

“Almost everything I know about hell’s eschatological aspects I learned from watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer — sort of an interactive Divine Comedy. Valley-girl Buffy Summers and her Virgil (embodied by tweedy professor Rupert Giles) battle soulless creatures that slither out of the ‘hell mouth’ (conveniently located under the high school), returning the creatures to blazing torment forever.

“I would feel bad about this pop theological education, except I’m not alone.

“For 700 years, Dante’s epic poem — mainly the Inferno — has been the source of inspiration for preachers, pastors, and not a few theologians, who promoted hell as a physical place with its own address, zip code, and smoking embers. Add to their oratorical brimstone the fiery images from artists — Gustave Doré, Hieronymous Bosch, or Buffy producer Joss Whedon — and you’ve got a potent pedagogy.”   –Rose Marie Berger, Sojourners, 2015

Read the full article here.

“The Forum: Dante’s Inferno: The Poetry of Hell”

the-forum-dantes-inferno-poetry-of-hell-2018“Inferno is the 14th century epic that tells the story of Dante Alighieri’s imaginary journey through the underworld. It is the first part of Dante’s The Divine Comedy, and is widely considered to be one of the world’s greatest poems.

“Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Enter Here, is the famous phrase inscribed on the gates of Dante’s Inferno. Here Hell is divided into nine circles, with cruel and unusual punishments afflicting the sinners – who range from the lustful and cowardly in the upper circles to the malicious and fraudulent at the bottom of Hell.

“Joining Rajan Datar to explore the ideas and legacy of Dante’s Inferno is Dr Vittorio Montemaggi, author of Reading Dante’s Commedia as Theology; Claire Honess, Professor of Italian studies at the University of Leeds, and Sangjin Park, Professor of Comparative Literature at Busan University in South Korea, who will be speaking about the increasing popularity of Dante in his country and the role Inferno played in shaping Korea’s national identity.” [. . .]    —BBC, February 27, 2018.

Hell’s Ninth Circle (2017 TV mini-series)

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“A dark comedy about a disgraced cop who goes undercover to bust a mob boss.”    —IMDb, 2017.

Anthony Bourdain in Tuscany

 

In Season 3, Episode 15 of No Reservations (2007), there are many references to Dante and Inferno.

Contributed by Brendan Keefe

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.

Criminal Minds, “The Performer,” Season 5, Episode 7 (2009)

The rock star who is linked to all the murders in the episode uses the stage name Dante.

Contributed by Ella Mizera (University of Pittsburg, ’24)

“WWE Extreme Rules 2020: 5 Important Details You Probably Missed From the Wyatt Swamp Fight”

“When Braun Strowman arrived at the Swamp, there was a sign that read ‘Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter Here’ which could be a hint about the Firefly Fun House.”    –Phillipa Marie, Sportskeeda, July 20, 2020

Robert King on CBS’s Evil (2019)

CBS-TV-Series-Evil-2019-Season-1-Colter-Herbers-MandviIn an interview about the CBS series Evil (2019), showrunner Robert King made reference to the show’s resonance with Dante’s Inferno:

“Having the potential of 60 evil friends opens the show up to the possibility of a string of guest stars. This also gives the writers a good opportunity to go into the wide variety of types evil the Kings want to examine in society. ‘Some may be in the White House. Some may be in ICE. There are elements of evil all around so it’s a great world to explore. Dante had so much fun putting people in hell,’ Robert King extrapolated tongue-in-cheek.”  –Heather Taylor, “Exploring the Roots of Evil, a New Series on CBS,” Script Magazine (October 28, 2019)

See also the appearance of Doré’s Inferno illustrations in S01E07, posted here.

Evil (S01E07), CBS

CBS-Evil-Season1-Episode7-Herbers-Mandvi-Colter

Photo: Elizabeth Fisher/CBS ©2019 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

“In the television show Evil (2019, CBS) in Season 1, Episode 7, the main character receives a drawing in a journal given to her daughter by a demon, and the drawing is a sigil ‘from’ the Lesser Key of Solomon. When they research the sigil, they find it represents a demon called ‘Anatas’ who the show explains as a king of demons. While researching, they show multiple plates from the Doré illustrations from Dante’s Inferno. It is worth noting, however, that while the Lesser Key of Solomon is a real document, the symbols from the show are not exactly the same as the ones from the document, and the Lesser Key of Solomon was written after Dante’s time.”   –Contributor Alex Lee

See a recap of the episode on TV Guide‘s website.

Contributed by Robert (Alex) Lee (Florida State University ’21)