(NB: Borrowed respectfully from Wikipedia's page on The Divine Comedy.)
The poem begins on Good Friday of the year 1300, "In the middle of our life's journey" (Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita), and so opens in medias res. Dante is thirty-five years old, half of the biblically alloted age of 70 (Psalm 90:10), lost in a dark wood (perhaps allegorically, contemplating suicide--as "wood" is figured in Canto XIII), assailed by beasts (a lion, a leopard, and a she-wolf; allegorical depictions of temptations towards sin) he cannot evade, and unable to find the "straight way" (diritta via) to salvation (symbolized by the sun behind the mountain). Conscious that he is ruining himself, that he is falling into a "deep place" (basso loco) where the sun is silent ('l sol tace), Dante is at last rescued by Virgil after his love Beatrice intercedes on his behalf (Canto II), and he and Virgil begin their journey to the underworld.
Dante passes through the Gate of Hell, on which is inscribed the famous phrase, "Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'intrate" or "Abandon all hope, ye who enter here."1 Before entering Hell completely, Dante and his guide see the Opportunists, souls of people who in life did nothing, neither for good nor evil. Mixed with them are the outcasts, who took no side in the Rebellion of Angels (among these Dante recognizes either Pope Celestine V, or Pontius Pilate; the text is ambiguous). These souls are neither in Hell nor out of it, but reside on the shores of the Acheron, their punishment to eternally pursue a banner, and be pursued by wasps and hornets that continually sting them while maggots and other such insects drink their blood and tears. This symbolizes the sting of their conscience.
Then Dante and Virgil reach the ferry that will take them across the river Acheron and to Hell proper. The ferry is piloted by Charon, who does not want to let Dante enter, for he is a living being. Their passage across is unknown since Virgil forces him to let them across, but Dante faints and does not awake until he is on the other side.
Virgil guides Dante through the nine circles of Hell. The circles are concentric, each new one representing further and further evil, culminating in the center of the earth, where Satan is held, bound. Each circle's sin is punished in an ironic fashion: the sinner is inflicted by the chief sin (s)he committed for all of eternity. Sinners such as these are found in Purgatory, but those in hell justify their sin and are unrepentant. Furthermore, those in hell have knowledge of the past and future, but not of the present. This is a joke on them in Dante's mind, because after the Final Judgment time ends, so those in hell would know nothing.
Filming required the whole of the Fargo Public Schools' winter break 2004-2005 (roughly ten days). Danny and Heidi got an A on the project from Ms. Christensen.
- Heidi Gustad.... Dante Alighieri
- Danny Davy.... Virgil
- Adam Gustad.... The Gluttons
- Davey.... Cerberus
- Cody Koch.... Charon, Phylegas, a fallen angel guarding the walls of Dis
- Toby Jones.... Satan (pale yellow head), a fallen angel guarding the walls of Dis
- Allison Schmidt.... Angel Guarding the Vestibule
- Andrea Schmidt.... Angel Guarding the Vestibule
- Chandler O'Leary.... Satan (red head)
- Alex Davy.... Satan (black head)
- Danny Davy.... Director, Writer, Cinematographer, Editor
- Heidi Gustad.... Director, Writer, Cinematographer, Editor