This exercise was born out of curiosity and as a perception that the subject deserves attention. Adding to the fact that this is a homework I have long since set aside, I decided to give it a chance stimulated by our local paper which reported a thesis on Dante’s Inferno. According to the news, the main characteristic of the thesis was about the supposed size of the Inferno and that had been made as if it were something humorous. Not to mention that it was all a scheme of the Catholic Church to keep its followers. When reading the thesis, which is available at Internet, I was astonished because the thesis was a mixture of a paradox and a mistaken idea on the subject. The paradox comes from the fact that the thesis was centered on the movie Blade Runner, which deals with small band of bio-engineered humanoids, called “replicants,” escaped from their “off-world” bondage and return to Earth in search of their designers, in an attempt to lengthen their lifespans, which have been set at four years. Taken into account that the whole scheme of the Divine Comedy revolves on the what happens to the souls of those who die, the case of replicants is non sense, because they have no soul to be saved or dammed. This is aggravated for the fact that today you can have up to five versions of the film and there is no consensus wether their persecutor, Rick Deckard (played by Harrison Ford) is not himself a replicant.
The movie disputes the position of being the best science fiction film ever made, but in fact it is deeply noir and with metaphysical pretensions. When it was first released in 1982, it was poorly received and the audience laughed, which for a movie that does not have a single joke is a serious problem. It was, however, perfect for the technological revolution that would follow, in the formats and distribution, being the first film to be on DVD. In addition to that the visual tells to the senses that it looks like what we fear our planet is becoming, through a mixture of rain, a caressing smoke involving everything and a kaleidoscope that moves all the time with artificial lights. All suggesting a society described in dystopian literature, which explores social and political structures in a dark world of nightmare, characterized by poverty, misery, filth and oppression, especially in speculative science fiction.
Quite inhumane thing … Fortunately it’s for humanoid robots …
The mistaken idea (on the thesis) perhaps comes from the fact that that the author did not try to figure out the symbolism involved in the images he presents for Dante’s case and what they mean. The justification that this would be under the dominion of religion leaves out the understanding of what the Divine Comedy represents not only Italian culture, but for world culture.
I decided to explore what is under and behind these images under other perspectives, specially the religious, the symbolic, the importance to the establishment of Italian as an idiom, the merit of having catalyzed the work of Gaileo and others which will be added to the extent that they become necessary too figure out what Dante is all about.
These other perspectives are listed at Index
The starting pointer is at Inferno