“The pilot episode of ‘Get Smart’ (1965) features agent Maxwell Smart trying to rescue one ‘Professor Dante’ who has invented a weapon of mass destruction known as the ‘Inthermo.’ At the end of the episode it is revealed that Dante meant to name his invention the ‘Inferno.'” –Joe Henderson
Contributed by Joe Henderson (Bowdoin, ’10)
“In the most recent episode (aired March 14) one particular bit of dialogue rang particularly true to me of Dante’s ideas of Purgatory and Paradise:
Kate: Why would you want to come back?
Mikhail: You would not understand.
Kate: Try me.
Mikhail: I misspoke, what I meant to say is you are not capable of understanding.
Kate: And why am I not capable?
Mikhail: Because you are not on the list.
Kate: What list?
Mikhail: The man who brought me here, who brought all of my people here, he is a magnificent man.
Mikhail: I will try to make this as simple as I can. You are not on the list because you are flawed, because you are angry and weak and frightened.
Much like the virtuous pagans who died before Christ and those whose souls have not been purified by the purgation process cannot comprehend Paradise, it seems as if, at least in the minds of “the Others” those who are not on the list, which seems to be comprised of only those who they deem good, cannot comprehend the goodness of the island. Of course, this would make the island some odd hybrid of Purgatory (since the inhabitants do seem to relive their past mistakes and, in some way, atone for them) and Paradise, since the others view the island as their paradise. Of course the others are no angels (wow that was a bad joke)–they seem to be willing to go as far as murder to protect their paradise. Perhaps this bit of dialogue is evidence that the writers were inspired by aspects of the Divine Comedy.” –Charlie Russell-Schlesinger
Contributed by Charlie Russell-Schlesinger (Bowdoin, ’08)