Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Death of Literature

Today is a sad day. Today is the day I realized that literature might possibly be dead. The bullet that penetrated the heart of literature actually struck weeks ago, but I did not realize the significance of the bullet until today. This bullet is not a book, but a video game. Which video game? The Dante's Inferno video game to be exact.

Let me explain.

In the amazing piece of literature written by Dante, The Inferno is part one of The Divine Comedy and tells of a journey through Hell where Dante (the fictional version) is led through Hell by Virgil, the personification of Human Reason. The pairing traverse through Hell surveying all the sinners and various demons that populate Hell in the nine circles. The book was intended to show Dante's faith (the author Dante) in his God and mapped out his version of what the Catholic Hell looked like. The grotesque imagery used by Dante in the story has never been matched in any other piece of literature, and the only violence exhibited in the story is done by the demons to the sinners or from the sinners to each other. Beatrice, Dante's "crush" in real life, is looked upon in high regard by Dante in the story, and she embodies Divinity. Satan resides in the Ninth Circle, and he is frozen in place while he chews on the bodies of Judas, Brutus, and Cassius.

Now let's discuss the video game. Dante is "killed" by an assassin and Death confronts him to take him into the afterlife. However, Dante slays him and takes his scythe in the process. He returns to Florence only to find that Beatrice has been murdered. After this the story becomes a bit gruesome as Lucifer appears to Dante and steals away Beatrice. He retreats to a chapel to escape an onslaught of the undead. Then a huge crack rips open in the earth and Dante descends into Hell. He meets Virgil there and then they embark on their journey. However, instead of merely surveying the demons and sinners, Dante slays them and mercilessly fights his way to meet Satan in the final circle. Here Satan at least looks a little bit like he is portrayed in the book, however he acts nothing like what the story says. He is the final boss for Dante, and after defeating him Dante is carried out of Hell to meet Beatrice.

This is only a vague and nutshell version of the video game, yet you can see the HUGE diversities between the book and the game. I didn't even mention the army of mutilated and demonic unbaptized babies that Dante has to fight. Also excluded was the gruesome accounts of Cerberus, Charon, and various other mythological beings that inhabited Hell in the game. It's enough that the creators of the game admitted that they completely changed the storyline from the book and had no problems with doing so, but they could at least have made a decent game out of it. Apparently the game gets quite repetitive, and it takes on too many flaws that many platforming games usually have.

I was offended when I found out that this game was being made. I was provided hope, however, when I was told that a movie was to be made for The Inferno. My hope, however, was completely and absolutely demolished when I discovered that the movie was to be based on the game and not the Divine Comedy version. I am appalled that such a game and soon-to-be movie exist. Is this proof that literature is dead and now only exists to keep the bloggers and tweeters alive? (yes, I realize that was contradictory. I'll do that quite often in my blog, so don't point it out. I do it on purpose.)

Poetry is losing its form, novels can be written by anyone, and grammar is being abused every day. Please, please, please, read a book, and preferably one that was written at least fifteen years ago. Help save literature before it really does die.