The Dante’s Inferno Weight-Loss Plan

In Dante Alighieri’s medieval poem The Inferno, the third circle of hell is reserved for the gluttons.   Everything in this circle is like a huge garbage dump.  The dead gluttons lie in a “putrid slush” while being deluged with “huge hailstones, dirty water, and black snow.”  This landscape sounds almost as bad as Minnesota in March.

(For more information on The Inferno, see my previous post here.)

Illustration of Canto 6 by Stradanus

Illustration of Canto 6 by Stradanus

But that’s not all!  Added to this frozen rain of hell is the punishment inflicted by the triple-headed dog Cerberus, who “howls through his triple throats like a mad dog / over the spirits sunk in that foul paste. / His eyes are red, his beard is greased with phlegm / his belly is swollen, and his hands are claws/ to rip the wretches and flay and mangle them”  (Canto VI, Circle 3, lines 14 – 18).  These gluttonous souls are buried like garbage, and the mad dog Cerberus devours them like so much leftover meat.

Dante believed the gluttons deserved such punishment because when they were alive, they could think of nothing better to do with their God-given gifts than to wallow in food and drink.  They thus deserve to spend eternity “rotting like a swollen log.”

In the past, whenever I read this description of the gluttons in hell, my first reaction was to think, “oh, crap.  I really need to give up those Snickers bars before I end up here.”  This time, though, reading about the Third Circle gave me a business idea.  I am going to create and promote the Dante’s Inferno Weight Loss Plan.  First, I will open up a chain of weight-loss centers across the nation.    My plan will work a bit like Weight Watchers.  Clients will agree to follow a reduced-calorie diet, and will meet once a week for a weigh-in.   If they lose weight, all is well.

However, if they do not lose weight, they will then be sent immediately (through a trap door) to  Dante’s Third Circle of hell, where they will remain for a week.  After being slobbered over and gnawed at for a week by Cerberus, they will probably become so nauseated and disgusted that they will not be able to eat much. They will come back after their “adventure” a few pounds lighter, but more important they will be motivated to stay on their diets forever, in order to avoid such punishment again.

With The Inferno plan, my clients will not only lose pounds, but they will lose the weight of their sins as well and can move on directly to Purgatory.

What do you think of my plan?  It’s brilliant, right?  All I need to make it work is a partner who is willing to invest a few billion dolllars to help build a replica of The Inferno.   (We could probably have it double as a theme park as well, now that I think of it.)

Are you in?

————

Want to know which circle of hell you belong in?  Click here to find out.

http://www.4degreez.com/misc/dante-inferno-test.mv

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9 thoughts on “The Dante’s Inferno Weight-Loss Plan

  1. I have always found Dante’s ordering of the circles of hell interesting. If I were teaching this, I would ask my students, do you agree with this ordering and how would you categorize sins and why. Now, if you find the money for the Inferno weight loss plan, I think your three headed dog should include Richard Simmons as one head along with two other annoying weight loss instructors. People will do anything to not listen to those voices drone on.

    • Great minds think alike, BTG. I do in fact ask them that question. In fact, I asked them that yesterday. I also ask them to come up with their own ordering of circles.

      Love the Richard Simmons idea!

      • Debra, I am in good company then. I have always liked where he placed graft. This is especially concerning with the ability for dark money from a few to fund so many elections in our country. BTG

  2. Since this summer I fell off the Weight Watchers wagon, I’d be in. Some horror to motivate me through all those sweets we had in the teacher’s lounge last night for conferences. Funny concept!

  3. I read Dante. I’m convinced it’s all a dream born of a large meal of spicy meatballs and Chianti. Long story short, if he had just paced himself better, he could have enjoyed his gluttony and skipped the night terrors. Everyone could learn a thing or two from Americans.

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