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This list features the characters in the Dante's Inferno video game, film, comic book series, and toy line, loosely based on the Inferno of Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy.[1][2]

Character depictions in the poemEdit

SparkNotes identifies two main characters in the poem: Dante Alighieri and Virgil, noting that the “only character besides Dante to appear all the way through Inferno, Virgil’s ghost is generally taken by critics to represent human reason, which guides and protects the individual (represented by Dante/Everyman) through the world of sin.”[3] Virgil, however, is not the only “guide” for Dante in the poem. As Lynn Hunt writes, in Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy (1313-1321), “Dante found a new guide representing earthly love to lead him through most of Paradise. This guide was Beatrice, a Florentine girl with whom Dante had fallen in love as a boy and whom he never forgot.”[4]

Characters depictions in the released video game, film, comic book, and toys franchiseEdit

Main ProtagonistsEdit

Dante AlighieriEdit

The game's primary protagonist and a far cry from the actual figure, Dante is depicted as a Templar knight of the Third Crusade. Swearing a vow of faith to Beatrice, Dante broke it before slaughtering Muslim prisoners of war, seeing them as subhuman. After Francisco gave his life up to save him from the king's retribution, Dante is killed during the siege on Acre where he confronts Death and learns that he was not on a holy mission. Taking Death's Scythe as his own, enabling him to return to the land of the living, a disilusioned Dante left for Florence while he had sewn a red tapestry detailing the events of his sins into his chest. After finding his father and Beatrice dead, Dante purses the latter to Hell with the cross she gave him long ago where he faces his horrific past and manages to redeem himself before ending up on Purgatory where he rips the tapestry off of him and discards it as he begins a new journey. He is voiced by Graham McTavish in English and by Toshiyuki Morikawa in Japanese. An action figure of Dante has also been released.[5]

Beatrice PortinariEdit

Beatrice Portinari is Dante's now deceased fiance. She serves as Dante's primary motivation as he goes deeper into Hell to rescue her from being used by Lucifer as a way for him to escape from Hell. She, along with Dante's father and servants, were killed prior to Dante's return to Florence after being stabbed to death by the assassin. Furthermore, betting her soul on Dante's faithfulness to her, Beatrice is kidnapped by Lucifer who later tempts her into giving herself to him after revealing how her brother died. Though she despised Dante for his actions against her, she is restored to normal after seeing that he kept her cross before being spirited off into Heaven. She is voiced by Vanessa Branch.

Columbia University Professor Teodolinda Barolini, a former president of the Dante Society of America, criticized the game for its depiction of Beatrice, declaring, “Of all the things that are troubling, the sexualization and infantilization of Beatrice are the worst. Beatrice is the human girl who is dead and is now an agent of the divine. She is not to be saved by him, she is saving him. That’s the whole point! Here, she has become the prototypical damsel in distress. She’s this kind of bizarrely corrupted Barbie doll.”[6] Other reviews of the game include similar comments of the characters by actual professors: “Beatrice saves Dante…not the other way around,” says Professor Arielle Saiber, a classics professor at Bowdoin College.

Publius Vergilius Maro (Virgil)Edit

One of Rome's greatest poets, now long deceased, Virgil acts as a guide to Dante (similar to his role in the original poem), explaining each of the circles of Hell and their purposes. As such, all of his dialogue comes from the poem. He is depicted as a tall, bald man dressed in a toga and having thick veins sticking out of his head where a spiked crown rests on his forehead. He is voiced by Bart McCarthy in the game and by Peter Jessop in the animated movie.

Minor charactersEdit

Bella AlighieriEdit

Dante's pious mother, she was beaten and abused by her husband, and eventually succumbed to a fever. In reality, she committed suicide and is trapped in the Seventh Circle of Hell. She tells Dante that despite being raised by his evil father, he is a better man and can save his soul. Dante uses the cross to free her from her torment. She is voiced by Pollyana McIntosh in the game and by Victoria Tennant in the movie.[citation needed]

The AvengerEdit

An unknown assailant who assassinated Dante after the massacre in Acre. Finding out Dante survived, he rode ahead to Florence and attacked Dante's father and Beatrice, murdering them in Alighiero's own villa. His connection to Dante is revealed to be that he is the husband of a Muslim woman who offered herself to Dante for his freedom, lying about her relation to him. Because of his wife's actions and Dante accepting her offer, the Avenger swore a vendatta against Dante and his family. He is voiced by Daniel Curshen in the game and by John Paul Karliak in the movie.

The Bishop of FlorenceEdit

A minor character who deceives Dante and the other Crusaders into thinking they will be forgiven for all their sins for taking part in the Crusades. However, both Dante and Francesco learned too late of the bishop's false promise of salvation after their encounters with the supernatural and soon realize that their cause was by no means "holy" as he said it was. He is voiced by Peter Egan.

King Richard IEdit

Also known as the Lionheart, the English king led his men during the Third Crusade. Prior to the siege of Acre, he kept 3,000 Muslim prisoners hostage as a way to negotiate with Saladin. But Dante, in his fanatic-driven bloodlust, slaughters them all by the time King Richard returned to be horrified at the aftermath of the massacre which Francesco took the blame for on Dante's behalf. Enraged, the King ordered Beatrice's brother to be executed before declaring a siege on Acre in fear of Saladin's retaliation for the horrific act. He is voiced by Peter Egan.

AngelEdit

An angel who appears to collect Beatrice's soul for Heaven once Dante rescues her. Whether or not he is an archangel or just a mere angel is up for debate, as the only angel mentioned by name, by Virgil, is Michael. In the Animated Epic, the angel is depicted as having two faces, four wings and no arms; while this could just be an artistic liberty, it could also hint the angel is a Cherubim.

There have been rumors that the developers dubbed the angel Gabriel.

Character depictions in the unreleased video gameEdit

The Lost (2003) was a completed yet cancelled video game by Irrational Games set in the nine circles of hell and inspired by Dante’s “Inferno” according to creative director Ken Levine. The game was “a cross between Legend of Zelda and Silent Hill. The main character - a woman named Amanda - would fight off creatures and solve puzzles as she tried to retrieve her daughter Beatrice from the inferno, and the story dealt heavily with themes of loss.”[7]


Further readingEdit

  • For a detailed section on “Characters” of the video game, which is subdivided into “Main Characters” (with multi-sentence paragraphs on Dante Alighieri, Virgil, Beatrice, Francesco, Alighiero, and Bella), “Secondary Characters” (featuring again, more than just a sentence or two on Death, Charon, Cleopatra, Marc Antony, Cerberus, Phlegyas, King Minos, and Lucifer), and “The Damned” (the book tends to have more than a one sentence description as well for Attila, Boudica, Brunetto Latini, Cavalcante de ‘ Cavalanti, Ciacco, Clodia, Count Ugolino, Electra, Emperor Frederick II, Farinata, Filippo Argenti, Fra Alberigo, Francesca da Polenta, Fulvia, Gessius Florus, Guido Guerra, Hecuba, Mordred, Myrrha, Orpheus, Paolo Malatesta, Pietro della Vigna, Pontius Pilate, Semiaramis, Tarpeia, Thais the Harlot, and Tiresias) see Bryan Dawson, Dante’s Inferno: Prima Official Game Guide (Roseville, CA: Prima Games, 2010), 50-54.

ReferencesEdit

  1. Dante's Inferno, Dante Alighieri, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Random House Publishing Group, 2010, ISBN 0345522230, 9780345522238.
  2. Dante's Inferno, Christos Gage, Diego Latorre, Illustrated by Diego Latorre, Publisher DC Comics, 2010, ISBN 1401228127, 9781401228125.
  3. Inferno: Analysis of Major Characters,” Spark Notes (2010).
  4. R. Po-chia Hsia, Lynn Hunt, Thomas R. Martin, Barbara H. Rosenwein, and Bonnie G. Smith, The Making of the West Peoples and Cultures A Concise History Volume I: To 1740 Second Edition (Boston and New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2007), 414.
  5. Brian Ashcraft, “Dante's Inferno In Unpainted Figure Form,” Kotaku (Oct 19, 2009).
  6. Teodolinda Barolini, “An Ivy League Professor Weighs In: Expert View,” Entertainment Weekly 1091 (February 26, 2010): 79.
  7. Joe Juba, “Understanding the Irrational: The Past, Present, And Future of Irrational Games,” Game Informer 202 (February 2010): 67.


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