RuPaul’s Drag Race: Vegas Revue S01E02

“On Season 1 Episode 2 of Rupaul’s Drag Race: Vegas Revue, Yvie Oddly claims that she is ‘in the seventh circle of hell’ when describing the chaos backstage of a live performance.”   –Contributor Ellie Marvin

Watch the full episode, which aired August 28, 2020, on VH1.

Contributed by Ellie Marvin (Florida State University MA ’21)

Dante, Fullmetal Alchemist (2003)

“Dante (ダンテ, Dante) is the central antagonist of the Fullmetal Alchemist 2003 anime series, first introduced in Episode 32. She is a heartless elderly woman and a formidable alchemist herself. Posing as the master and the benefactor of the Homunculi, Dante is responsible for setting in motion the events of the series and the challenges its protagonists must face along the way, and orchestrates her agenda within the shadows of the Amestrian government and military.

[. . .]

She may be named after the Italian poet, Dante Alighieri, famous for writing the Divine Comedy, a three-part poem with the first chapter, Inferno, taking place in the Nine Circles of Hell. In fact in the Italian dub of the episode title ‘Dante of the Deep Forest’ was translated to ‘Dante Della Selva Oscura’ (lit. ‘Dante of Dark Forest’ [sic]), a reference to the beginning of Alighieri’s poem.”    —Fullmetal Alchemist Wiki, February 24, 2020

Learn more about the Fullmetal Alchemist series here.

Contributed by Andrea Beauvais (Luther College)

Originally posted January 26, 2010. Post updated September 4, 2020.

American Horror Story: Dante’s Inferno Theory Explained”

“Ryan Murphy’s long-running horror anthology series, American Horror Story, has no shortage of fan theories surrounding it; one suggests that the first nine seasons correspond with the nine circles of hell in Dante’s Inferno.

[. . .]

Inferno is part of a 14th century epic poem by Dante Alighieri, the first part of the Divine Comedy. The concept of nine circles – or layers – of hell has been utilized many times throughout horror’s cinematic history, as it addresses sin, purgatory, and serves as a journey into the dark underworld. This theory surfaced long before all nine seasons of American Horror Story aired, and clever fans have been able to make each circle work to correspond with a different season of the show. While there are theories as to which season best suits a specific circle, they are all represented by Inferno in some way; everything is neatly accounted for.

In 2014, the theory surfaced, and in 2017, Murphy posted a list on Instagram that brought the theory back to life; he assigned seven of the nine seasons to specific circles, which has become the accepted ‘norm’. Since then, seasons 8 (Apocalypse) and 9 (1984) have aired; they also fit the remaining two circles, interestingly enough. The nine circles of hell discussed in Dante’s Inferno are: limbo, lust, gluttony, greed, anger, heresy, violence, fraud, and treachery. While these are listed in order, the seasons do not correspond with each circle sequentially. The commonly-accepted connections are: Murder House (limbo), Asylum (fraud), Coven (treachery), Freak Show (greed), Hotel (gluttony)Roanoke (anger), Cult (heresy), Apocalypse (violence), and 1984 (lust).”    –Jack Wilhelmi, Screen Rant, June 2, 2020

My Cat From Hell Season 2, Episode 4 – “Pissed Off!”

On the season 2 episode of My Cat From Hell titled “Pissed Off!”, Rob tells Stephanie “It’s like going into… Dante’s Inferno of piss.” (My Cat From Hell, Animal Planet, January 28, 2012)

Contributed by Victoria Nicholls (The Bolles School, ’22)

Downton Abbey Season 3, Episode 8 (2013)

On the ITV drama Downton Abbey, in season three, episode eight, Matthew Crawley says “This is like the outer circle from Dante’s Inferno!” (Downton Abbey, ITV, February 10, 2013)

Contributed by Victoria Nicholls (The Bolles School, ’22)

Lucifer Season 4, Episode 2 – “Somebody’s Been Reading Dante’s Inferno” (2019)

In season four of the Netflix drama Lucifer, the second episode is titled “Somebody’s Been Reading Dante’s Inferno.” (Lucifer, Netflix, May 8, 2019)

Contributed by Audrey Cheng (The Bolles School, 22′)

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, S03E01

“It sounds insane to say but Sabrina’s journey through hell merged both The Wizard of OZ and Dante’s Inferno and it worked perfectly. Sabrina’s journey ends with a dash of Milton’s Paradise Lost and it’s all rendered is horrifying, beautiful images that would make any Renaissance poet swoon.

“It stands to reason that Dante, who took the most famous journey through hell in literature would get a shout out in Sabrina. She’s assigned to read it by her poor, formerly possessed teacher Miss Wardwell and from that gets the idea of finding a backdoor into hell, so she can save her boyfriend. Just doing Dante would be fine here, but we get the first hints of Oz as Sabrina gathers three friends to join her. And to get through hell, they need special shoes. Not ruby slippers though, but shoes of the dead. I guess the Ruby Slippers technically belonged to a dead person too, so well-played.

“After a spell that directly quotes Dante’s version of the inscription on the gates of hell – ‘Abandon all hope, ye who enter here’ – Sabrina, Harvey, Roz and Theo arrive in hell on the ‘Shore of Sorrow’ which sounds a lot like the way Dante arrives in hell himself, on the shores of the river Acheron (yes, Acheron is a term we hear in Sabrina for a trap for a demon). [. . .]”   — Jessica Mason, “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Journeys to a Hellish Oz by Way of Dante’s Inferno,” Review (with spoilers!) of Season Premiere of Part Three of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (Netflix, 2020) on The Mary Sue

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (S02E09, 2014)


The ninth episode of season 2 of the superhero-spy television series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is called “Ye Who Enter Here.” The episode aired on Dec. 2, 2014.

Contributed by Su Ertekin-Taner, The Bolles School ’22

You Season 2, Episode 1 – “A Fresh Start” (2019)

On the Netflix drama You, in the season two premiere “A Fresh Start” the main character Joe/Will says “..if LA is hell, the LA DMV is surely the ninth circle.” (You, Netflix, December 26, 2019)

Contributed by Faeryn Lee (The Bolles School, ’22)

Dante’s Inferno TV Series in the Works at Freeform”

“The contemporary reimagining of the 14th-century poem is among the first projects being developed by head of originals Lauren Corrao.

“The Freeform take follows Grace Dante, who thought her life sucked. Between parenting her drug-addict mother and her troubled brother, the twenty-something hero has had to give up all her dreams. Then one day everything changes and her dreams start magically coming true — school, career, love … but the godfather of all this good fortune is the devil himself. And to outwit him, Grace will have to journey through Dante’s Inferno, a contemporary reimagining of the 14th-century poem set against the demonic underworld of present-day Los Angeles.”    — Lesley Goldberg, The Hollywood Reporter, October 28, 2019