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Beatrice Portinari is Not the Whore of Babylon

January 22, 2010

Why is Beatrice in Hell?

So… according to the upcoming Dante’s Inferno Blu-ray animation release, the above is Beatrice Portinari. She’s being carried in the hand of Lucifer, who apparently escaped his icy confines in the ninth circle of hell. The two of them are being pursued by Dante, who is riding on the back of a giant. Alas, Lucifer fires a blue laser at the giant, and the giant falls to his apparent doom, forcing Dante to jump off the beast and stroll into hell with Virgil right behind him as his guide.

I do not like this depiction of the Inferno. Not because of the obvious walking away from the source material in this case, but mostly because of the way they’re treating Beatrice.

Beatrice is only supposed to show up in Purgatorio and Paradiso as a guide who takes over for Virgil when Dante needs to move forward in his allegorical journey. She is supposed to embody beatific love, in addition to being the one woman Dante loved.  In the animated epic, it seems, she looks like an anime-ified brazen hussy, with her boobs popping out of her non-existent clothing.

I would play Dante’s Inferno, were it not for the shoddy depiction of Beatrice. Like it or not, she’s a wonderful and timeless plot device to usher Dante through to Paradise, but I choose to see her as a plot device created by Dante’s love for her rather than a plot device made just to turn Dante into a bad-ass scythe wielding mofo who has Marioriffic tendencies (I’m Sorry, but your Beatrice is in another Circle of Hell).

If you’re wondering why I’m so caught up in this thing, it’s mostly because I thought Dante was a cool guy back in Grade 6 when I first read Inferno (with a lot of notes… a LOT of notes for understanding) and Beatrice was basically my first impression of how powerful love, even unrequited, courtly love like Dante’s, can be. I really wish Dante’s Inferno wasn’t happening in this case, but I can’t exactly stop them from making a mockery out of the source material.

Anyway, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go find my own lady love now… wherever the Hell she might be.

—–

Picture Source and inspiration: Kotaku

2 Comments leave one →
  1. beldeti permalink
    January 22, 2010 11:35

    True that.

    Too bad that she’d be portrayed this way in the game , but the game devs can say it’s just “loosely based on the books”. (I’d imagine they only looked at the pics and notes, and not read through the whole book?) And rampaging gaming male hormones will let them get away with it.

    But if (and a big if at that) they do portray Beatrice closer to how Dante did it, and she still is drawn that way, that’d be nice. Yay for more females as great characters and not just some damsels in distress (undress?).

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