Dante Sent to Hell

I watched with little amusement and much distress the animated version of Dante’s “Inferno.” I suppose anytime when one makes a cartoon about a semi-sacred subject one is going to encounter some problems. Can one imagine Augustine’s “Confessions” or Aquinas “Summa Theologica” as cartoons? (There was a scene in a Daffy Duck cartoon where he sends the Big Bad Wolf into the open book of the “Inferno” where he is consumed with flames. )

Anyway what truly distresses me is that the whole meaning of the poem is missing. The crucial relationship with Beatrice is ruined–she is Dante’s paramour here and he goes to hell to save her. In short, he’s not the Dante of the poem, but Orpheus. He is also a crusader who wields a sword and kills monsters in hell….This sort of revision is on the par of “The Passion of the Christ.” Perhaps I am not surprised by this–this violent piece was not drawn from the poem, but rather from a Japanese video game….

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