Death and what comes after has ever been a topic of great involvement and uncertainness. Many have tried to picture their ain vision of the hereafter, be it heaven or hell, paradiso or hell. Here, I will discourse the similarities and differences in the snake pit represented in the film What Dreams May Come and the Inferno of Dante Alighieri ’ s Divine Comedy. What Dreams May Come is a film about two psyche couples, Chris ( Robin Williams ) and Annie ( Anabella Sciorra ) . After Chris ’ decease in a auto accident coupled with the decease of her two kids four old ages before, Annie commits suicide. While Chris has gone to heaven and discovered that his Eden is populating in a universe of Annie ’ s pictures, Annie has gone to a snake pit besides of her ain devising because of her self-destruction. When Chris learns of Annie ’ s decease and her topographic point in snake pit, he vows to travel at that place and convey her dorsum. The chief subject is that psyche couples exist and love goes on after decease.
One of the chief differences between the snake pit that Dante pigments and manager Vincent Ward creates in the film is the thought of the hereafter being nonsubjective or subjective. In the Inferno, Dante paints a snake pit of fire and native sulfur, carefully divided and subdivided. Everything is punctilious and standardised. A topographic point and penalty is dished out for every offense. For illustration, circle seven, depicted in Cantos twelve through 17 is the designated topographic point for the violent but has many subdivisions including violent against neighbour, ego, God, nature, and art ; each with their ain penalty. Although Ward ’ s vision of snake pit draws much from the traditional thought of Dante ’ s version, possibly merely for the interest of painting a image of snake pit on the screen, the major difference is in the subjectivity of it. In an interview sing the movie, manager Vincent Ward stated “ instead than there being an aim Eden where everybody ’ s Eden is the same, you create your ain Eden and it ’ s whatever you want it to be ” ( ” A Note on the Afterlife ” ) . For Williams ’ character, Chris, his Eden was populating in one of his married woman Annie ’ s pictures. But the same theory holds true for Annie in snake pit. Annie is non in her topographic point in snake pit because she has been deemed by Minos to be a self-destruction and assigned her degree ; she exists at that place because she has made a snake pit of her ain. Her snake pit is populating in a universe without her hubby and kids, which she tried to get away through perpetrating self-destruction but lives on in due to her ain self-loathing and guilt.
One cardinal difference between these two plants is the nature of Chris and Dante ’ s travel into the hell. While Chris has already died and gone to heaven, Dante is still populating. Chris leaves heaven and descends into snake pit for his ain intent of conveying his psyche mate, Annie, back. Chris had a pick as to if he wanted to travel down to hell but Dante did non. His trip was divinely ordained and orchestrated. His ground in traveling is because he has been rolling from the “ True Way ” and has been sent to be taught an of import and valuable lesson.
In both plants, there is the common relationship of pupil to teacher. In What Dreams May Come, Chris locates a “ tracker ” to help him in his journey to hell to happen Annie. This tracker is Albert, a adult male who Chris studied under as a medical pupil and has a great trade of love and regard for. However, Chris does non cognize that this tracker is his old wise man. In the movie, Albert states “ thought is existent and physical is the illusion. ” He is non in the bodily signifier that Chris recognized him as on Earth. He has assumed the signifier of an aged white adult male and does non place himself to Chris until a important point in the movie. In life, he was Chris ’ wise man but in the hereafter, he is his friend and bodyguard. A similar relationship of pupil to mentor exists in the Inferno between Dante and Virgil. Virgil, as a poet, has inspired Dante and his plants greatly. Upon run intoing him, Dante says “ For you are my true maestro and first writer, / the sole shaper from whom I drew the breath/ of that sweet manner whose steps have brought me honor. ” ( Inferno, Canto 1, Lines 82-84 ) . Besides, no longer is Virgil a degage influence to Dante, separated by 100s of old ages, he is now a true friend to him. This is demonstrated in Canto 23 as Volt
irgil and Dante are trying to get away the Fiends. Virgil lifts Dante and ” – as down that hill / my Guide and Master bore me on his chest, / as if I were non a comrade, but a son.” ( Canto 23, Lines 45-47 ) . In their travels through snake pit a stopping point relationship has grown between maestro and pupil.
Aside from similarities and differences in the nature of snake pit and the relationships of the characters, there are besides similarities and differences in the specific degrees of snake pit dictated by Dante. While the movie does non travel through all the degrees Dante created, likely for the interest of clip, there are images of snake pit in the film that straight mirror Dante ’ s.
Chris and the tracker travel to hell on a little boat under a grey sky that carries bare organic structures writhing on the air currents. These figures swell from the H2O beneath the boat every bit good and turn over it, dragging Chris and Albert on to their descent into snake pit. When they surface they have washed up on a beach with organic structures littering it similar to kins of seals. A more wide position of the terrain shows shipwrecks clustered, inhabited by the blasted and engulfed in ageless fires. Sighs and laments of hurting become deafening. In one scene, the hull of the most outstanding shipwreck bears the word: CERBERUS. Chris and Albert have come to the entryway or anteroom of snake pit. While Ward has most decidedly borrowed the image of twirling figures in the sky from Circle two of Dante ’ s Inferno, there is no indicant that this is the penalty for lecherousness that Paolo and Francesca suffer in the Inferno. It is simply for the interest of filming.
When Dante and Virgil make their entryway into snake pit, they do it on pes and enter through a gate which bears the celebrated lettering, “ Abandon all hope ye who enter here. ” ( Canto 3, Line 9 ) . They are instantly inundated with visions and sounds of psyches in hurting. While Dante describes these as “ the about soulless whose lives concluded neither blasted nor congratulations, ” Ward gives no name to their opposite numbers in the movie ( Canto 3, Lines 33-34 ) . Next they are ferried on the river Acheron by Charon toward the first circle of snake pit. However, Chris and Albert must come in an elevator-type appliance upon the shipwreck labeled Cerberus to derive entryway to the remainder of snake pit.
Upon go outing the lift, Chris and Albert are confronted with a field of caputs, their organic structures buried beneath the sludge go forthing merely their caputs above land. As Chris and Albert pass these psyches cry out to them. This vision is evocative of many of the penalties that Dante pigments but non specifically one. It can be compared with the gluttonous buried in sludge and stop deading rain in Canto six or the violent against their neighbours fixed in topographic point in changing degrees of the river of boiling blood in Canto 12.
Chris unwittingly breaks through the surface of the field of caputs and falls through beds of land and into Annie ’ s portion of snake pit, the snake pit for self-destructions. In the movie, Chris provinces: “ good people end up in snake pit because they can ’ t forgive themselves … ” Annie has non been able to forgive herself for how her household had deteriorated and her flight from life through self-destruction. Her self-loathing and guilt pigments her snake pit merely as Chris paints his ain Eden. Her snake pit is a version of her place on Earth but everything is dead, decrepit, and gloomy. There she stays and lives everlastingly in a torture of her ain devising.
Compared to Dante ’ s word picture of self-destructions, this is a dreadfully politically right and 1890ss Hollywood mixture. In the Inferno, the self-destructions are located in Circle seven among the violent against ego. Their penalty is non self inflicted, it is decided by Minos. Just every bit careless as the evildoer was with his ain life, so is Minos in flinging the psyche down to the 7th degree, shooting roots where it lands and becomes a tree destined to be fed on by Harpies and mangled by hounds for infinity.
While many of the resemblances of the Inferno and What Dreams May Come seem largely for cinematic consequence entirely, it is a testament to Dante ’ s literary endowment that his portrayal of snake pit has been so digesting. The Inferno created by Dante so puts a face on snake pit and has influenced about every expression into the topic over the centuries since it was finished in 1321.