Comparison of Constantine and Dante's Inferno

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Mike Wilson 1,499 ------------------------------------------------- Damnation and Evil: A Critical Analysis of Constantine through Dante’s Inferno Throughout much of history, the afterlife has been rendered in many art forms as people constantly try to quell their fascination with life after death. This theme continues into the 21st century in works of art and entertainment. The movie Constantine contains the concepts of hell, angels and the devil to form the idea of a cosmic battle between good in evil as God and Satan have a friendly wager over the fate of humanity. This stems from John Constantine’s trip to hell after his first attempted suicide and his interactions with Angela, the Devil and demons as he tries to “buy his way back into heaven”.1 It is through these interactions that one sees that damnation reflects the sins committed during life and Satan reflects many preconceived notions of God, this mimicking shows the true nature of evil’s existence only through what is firstly good. This interpretation of the Devil and damnation reflects and starkly contrasts the work of Dante Alighieri in his Canto XXXIV of the Divine Comedy: Inferno. Looking at the themes of Constantine through overview, specific moments in the movie and in comparison with Dante’s work, one finds that this movie touches on the role of Satan and evil being needed for the world to be in balance. To look at the movie in a chronological sense, one sees the early life of John Constantine as he deals with the “gift” of seeing pieces of Hell on Earth. He tries to quell this by taking his own life, which in Catholic doctrine is ground for damnation. In the moments before he is revived he experiences a lifetime of horrors as his body is constantly ripped apart and annihilated in Hell. The movie goes forward with the idea of an eternal damnation filled with suffering for those not
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