Season 6 belongs to Dante

An anonymous source points out that this season evokes Dante's 9 levels (circles) of hell.

This season has been pure Dante. Each episode loosely based on the 9 circles of Hell. The punished included the innocent, the slothful, the greedy, the violent, the fraudulent, the suicides (AJ?), and blasphemers. The 9th circle is where the traitors reside, so the possibilities for next week (the finale) are fantastic.

Check out the similarities (numbering the 9 episodes of the current half-season as 1 to 9):
Episode 1 - Soprano Home Movies - Dante's 1st level of hell is purgatory, or limbo. no punishment meted out here. people are peaceful, yet sad. that episode involved no deaths (aside from a bit character in the laundromat), but an idyllic (and some say slow-paced) episode by a lake in upstate NY.

Episode 2 - Stage 5 - the premiere of Cleaver. Level 2 of Dante's hell is where the "lustful" spend eternity, those who betrayed reason at the behest of their appetites for pleasure. this episode sealed Christopher's fate, when Tony embraced him at the baptism, and told Melfi about how Chrissy hated him. you knew then that Christopher was not going to survive.

Episode 3 - Remember When - This episode saw the fractured relationship between Tony and Paulie, and almost saw Tony kill Paulie on the boat in Florida. It also showed the end for Junior. Level 3 of Dante's hell is for the gluttons, consumed in excess, and is filled with putrid water and stinking mud. Like the water around the boat, perhaps?

Episode 4 - Chasing It - This episode saw Tony's gambling losses escalate and his relationship with Hesh crumble. Dante's level 4 of hell was for those who lived greedily, those who stockpiled their fortunes, hoarding everything. Sound like Hesh?

Episode 5 - Walk Like A Man - this was a hateful episode, showing AJ taking joy in other's pain in order to heal from depression, and Christopher bearing the brunt of ostracization, and the feud between him and Paulie. Dante's 5th level of hell is reserved for the wrathful and the gloomy, punishing the cruel, vindictive, and hateful.

Episode 6 - Kennedy & Heidi - We see Christopher's death at Tony's hands, Tony's Vegas trip, and him screaming "I get it!" at the blinking sun. Level 6 of Dante's hell is for the heretics who fail to believe in God and the afterlife. Some have commented that this episode saw Tony reconcile with the fact that he's happy he's an evil guy, and that killing his cousin made him content, so therefore he turned from God and didn't mind heading toward hell. Maybe "I get it!" was Tony yelling to the universe that he understood there was no God, and that the ends justify the means, allowing him to revel in his evil without fear of divine retribution? That's something a heretic might do.

Episode 7 - The Second Coming - AJ's attempted suicide - the savage beating of Coco - the start of the NY/NJ war. Dante's 7th level of hell is reserved for the violent, the assasins, the war-mongers; and also those who commit suicide. Enough said.

Episode 8 - The Blue Comet - the end of Tony's therapy with Melfi - the full blown war - the killing of Bobby - maybe of Sil? Level 8 of hell involves "many and varied sinners," such as the seducers and the pimps (Sil runs the Bing), the barraters (those who commit an "unlawful breach of duty on the part of a ship's master or crew resulting in injury to the ship's owner" - which could be just about anyone in the NJ crew after Phil's bungling whacking), the thieves (which Bobby essentially was, not a true killer), and the hypocrites (Melfi).

Episode 9 - Made in America - The End. Level 9 of Dante's hell is the deepest level, where Satan himself resides (maybe Tony will die and see for himself what that sun was saying to him when flashing...his peyote experince might have been wrong, and instead of "there is no God," the Sun was saying, "this is hell, you're heading the right way!"). The traitors live here, Judas and Brutus included.

I can't take credit for this, but sure wish I could.

some will win, some will lose,
some were born to sing the blues,
the movie never ends,
it goes on and on and on and on........

Re: Season 6 belongs to Dante

Very interesting observations, bobC. Some of the level-to-episode comparisons are very clear and interesting indeed, while it seems the author had to stretch a little bit to relate others. Still well worth the read though, we'll have to wait and see if "Made in America" happens anything like this person has suggested.

Re: Season 6 belongs to Dante

Universal Polymath wrote:it seems the author had to stretch a little bit to relate others.

My thoughts as well. I suspect that one could take any of the last 9 and make some connection to any or all of Dante's 9 levels of hell. But there is one thing about the Sopranos that makes a connection to Dante appropriate (beside Silvio): The phrase "Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter" crowning the gates of hell in Dante's Inferno is equally applicable to choosing to enter the gateway into mobster life.

Re: Season 6 belongs to Dante

I think that it is based more than loosely, and following the nine circles clues us in to what will happen in the finale. I believe that the surprise isn't the outcome of the characters, but rather that we have been sympathizing and relating to someone who is (in dante's representation) pure evil.

1) Dante was Italian. The central figures in Dante's ninth circle are Brutus and Cassius, the slayers of Julius Caesar, and Judas. For Dante the assination of Caesar represented the end of a unified Italy. The significance of this is the status of jersey, not one of the five fams, a "glorified crew". There is a relative peace and stability, and jersey exists outside of that realm.

2) this is a side... chrissy always lacked faith in Tony's view of him, when in truth Tony' was hard on him b/c he was trying to develop him into his #2 man. This corresponds with the sixth circle (heretics).

3) Tony is the ultimate evil... the 9th circle of Inferno. We have seen all sorts of sinners and their fate.. but the 9th is reserved for traitors. Phil said he has no respect for this thing, he has never been to the can... him giving up the ghost was hinted at when he dimed on the arabs. Tony offering to flip in order to move to a witness protection state (nevada, or arizona, something like where where he had his peyote "epiphany") would be his answer to the "two families" conundrum that has been a focus of the series. Tony flipping to save himself & his family wouldn't be selling out, it would make him the worst villain he could be as described by dante's circles.

or maybe i'm crazy...

Re: Season 6 belongs to Dante

In reality, as in Chase vision, he could lead up to a connection with Dante, but could also go off on his own take.

Dante's vision was in the past, as is the Godfather series. Dante's vision was in response to the Catholic thought of his day. The Godfather, moved up to the Roman Catholic reality of it's day in connection with the Italian mafia.

Chase has bowed to both, but it doesn't mean that he buys it lock, stock, and barrel.

Chase is our Shakespeare, Dante, visionary who has been telling his own story for years.

Certainly, you build from those that went before, but it doesn't mean you are locked into fulfilling their vision in 2007.

As I have said for years, on many Sopranos boards, I only want to see the Soprano's end as Chase envisioned it from the beginning, and has spelled it out over the years.

Whether it fits Shakespeare, Dante, Godfather, Narnia, Tolkien, Tristan and Iseult, or Roy Rogers and Dale Evans...we are watching a work of art in our lifetime and should appreciated it for what it is.

I'm thankful for the allusions to past works, and the inclusion of masters in music both past and current, visuals that reflect other works, as well as original camera work. and includes the use of old movies and documentaries to flesh out a scene, acting that is the best ever on any screen, and writing that captures life, humor, hardship, relationship, dreams, guilt, envy, power, weaknesses, realities of location, etc.

But in the end...I want to see what the man, Chase, in this time and age, has to show us.

It may all come down to a table full of psychiatrists who are trying to heal humans, but are afraid to take on the really hard cases. And we will see all of the hard cases as they fulfill the destiny that they could not be saved from. Maybe because no one was really interested in helping them in the first place.

It is Chase's vision that I have enjoyed watching all these years and it will be the one that I most look forward to seeing in the end on Sunday.

In the meantime, I would like to thank David Chase for helping me to see that the Mafia is just a bunch of lowlives who parade around as if they have a power that is built up mostly by fear and illusion.

In the end they are just really people. Very destructive people. People who should not be feared but should be dealt with just as any person who commits a crime should be dealt with. When the crew went to Italy, it was very apparent what happens when the mafia really has free reign on a society. They kill each other off, go to jail, and women will lead.

Re: Season 6 belongs to Dante

When I first entered this thread, I thought it was about the season belonging to SILVIO Dante, and what a stretch that was. LOL...then I remembered it was the Chase Lounge.
I'm not too familiar with Dante or his Inferno (being an old English Lit major), but am in total agreement that Chase is our generation's Shakespeare. He's given us weekly dramas, comedies, tragedies, current event commentaries and morality plays all wrapped up in the general series called "The Sopranos".
I wish it could go on and on. Even a bad Sopranos' episode is better than 95% of anything on the tube (or the movies for that matter).
Each season (and some episodes) is a play or book unto itself. If all we had was the first season, that would have been satisfaction enough; if I recall, Chase & the cast & crew thought the first 13 was it at the time and the writing and resolution reflect that.
What I'm trying to say is that I don't need an ultimate resolution or conclusion to "The Sopranos": no one-armed man getting caught or other "deux-ex- machina(sp?)" to tie up the loose ends. The journey is (was) the reward. I understand there has to be a last episode, but I want to thank you, David Chase and all for the best and most involving/entertaining journey of my life so far.
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