The Divine Comedy
“It's only a comedy because people get submerged in dung.”
The Divine Comedy is a great work of self-insertion fan fiction written in The Dark Ages by a Goth poet known as Dante. It is the second book of Dante's God Hates You series along with Devil May Cry and Neon Genesis Evangelion. The plot consists of Dante's journey through Hell,Purgatory, and Heaven to find love of both God and Beatrice, his "Courtly Love Chick." Dante is guided by Roman poet Virgil and Existentialist Søren Kierkegaard (which was strange because Kierkegaard was not alive at the time) through this journey of peril, amazement, zombie slaying, humor, and more minor characters named Guido than you could count on your fingers and toes. The book is both Christian and Goth which in the modern world is an odd mix, but back then Christian Goths were cool.
First thing you must know about Hell is that it actually ain't that bad. There's some famous ass mother-fuckers in that shithole. The term "Divine Comedy" comes from those scenes in Hell where people are being tortured in "quite comedic ways," according to the author. This included burning, whipping the burns, and then giving them a purple-nurple. It was only intended for gods such as Odin, Thor, Hades, Zeus, Anu, Rudra, Bob, Mitra, etc. But people discovered it and thought that it was actually pretty good. Boy, were they wrong.
The book starts off with Dante wandering drunk through the forest. He looks up to see a star in the sky, which he gives symbolic meaning because he is "deep," but then suddenly is chased further into the woods by a lion and a she-wolf driving a Jaguar, running from them like a coward. Then after a long hour of running he bumps into the ghost of the poet Virgil head first. After sitting through Dante's stunned display of fanboyism, Virgil tells him that Beatrice wants him to come to Heaven, conveniently forgetting to note that the only way winds through Hell until Dante has agreed to follow his idol anywhere. Because God is going to end the world anyway, why not make the trip ahead of time?
Dante agrees, and Virgil takes him through the Gate to Hell which warns lost souls and tourists such as Dante to "Get Insurance Now While You Can." Beyond the gate, the two poets struggle to make their way through the vast crowd of souls waiting to be admitted into the inferno, and as Dante frantically asks souls for directions, the overwhelming number of people in Hell makes his head spin. Next thing he knows, he is waking up in the First Circle of Hell: Limbo. This is where the well-meaning Conservatives go, and now have to live with the fact that they lived lives of reason, which is wrong. Virgil, one of the most well-meaning of all, shows Dante his house, at which Dante withholds laughter, unsuccessfully; and they then leave for The second circle of Hell.
In this circle, lustful people are blown around over a ditch of McDonald's French Fires. Dante talks to Francesca, who complains that she was sent to her fate because she and her boyfriend, Guido, read the Kama Sutra. Now they are forced to fuck for eternity. Dante and Virgil then go on to the Third Circle of Hell, where the Gluttonous have to eat so much that they get eternal heartburn and are guarded by the Cerberus from Infocom's text parody of Zork 2, since Fluffy from Harry Potter was too prissy to do the job otherwise. Dante and Virgil stop to eat lunch, discussing the fact that they are so much better than these people until they are chased into the Fourth Circle by the vile dog, barely escaping with sandwiches intact. Here, greedy and cheap people push weights around and yell insults at each other. Not much else happens here other than meeting Scrooge Mic Duck suffering serious brusses trying to dive in his cash pool. So they go on to Circle 5, more commonly known in Hell as IMMORTAL KOMBAT (with a K), where the wrathful beat each other up while stepping on the sullen, who are submerged in water. Dante tries both and says he likes beating the crap out of people more.
After crossing "The Great Wall of Dis", they arrive at the 6th Circle of Heretics. Every person who believed in God yet also thought gays could get married goes here. Dante laughs at a political opponent named Guido who is stuck in a burning coffin like a Dracula deep fry. They discuss the fact that Italy is in a mess and that the only hope for it will come if people get rid of the whole "Church/State Separation" idea. Then the two poets progress to the 7th circle, which houses the violent, in which they kick trees and insult gays, causing the Poets to cry because they feel so sorry for the gays. They are also able to tour two unlockable circles within the seventh, which Virgil reveals using cheat codes he learned from his date in an online chat room.
After that, Dante and Virgil ride a creature called a Geryon, who introduces himself as Guido, to the Eighth Circle of the Dishonest; on the way down into the grue-filled darkness, Virgil takes care to warn Dante that of all of the circles of Hell they have been to so far, this one will be the worst. Dante had no idea. It turns out that the Eighth Circle was falsely advertised as a single one when it really consisted of eight of its own circles, all full of disease, fire, and since it is rather dark near the center of the earth, grues. While Dante cowers under the bridge between the fifth and sixth Bolgia, Virgil coolly draws a light cannon and manages to persuade a few of the grues to lead them nearly halfway through before they decide the live one would make a better meal. Dante is saved once again by his trusty guide, who leads him down into the final circle, which even grues fear. The deepest circle of Hell, number nine, is reserved for traitors and mutineers. Here, the souls are frozen into a giant lake of ice, which our heroes have to skate across to escape. Dante, horridly uncoordinated, kicks the spirit of a pirate named Guido in the head. And last but not least, in the center lies Satan: Lucifer, the Beast, Darth Guido, the Devil himself! Fortunately, he, too is frozen as punishment for his rebellion against God. Satan is munching on Judas, Stalin, Hitler, and Nietzsche, and can't really talk to them because he has to chew on these people, even though he has three mouths. Crawling over the Devel's back, they had no idea that emperor Nero was stuck up Lucifer's putrid crack under the ice.
Virgil then leads Dante to the other side of the Earth by tying the laces of their skates together so they can climb down into the Mines of Moria. It's a little known fact that Dante was the first person to think the earth was round, which almost got him sent to the Eighth Circle.
When the poets emerge from the Mines of Moria, the grass is, in fact, greener on the other side. In fact, Mt. Purgatory has the first grass growing on it that Dante has seen in a while now. They are met there by Oscar Wilde (see the above photo, which was taken in Purgatory by Dante in the Middle Ages), who tells them which way to go. The mountain is much like an inside-out Hell, with a circle for each of the Seven Deadly Sins, each higher than the one before it. However, the trek through Hell has left Dante, a mere mortal, exhausted, and he falls asleep. While Virgil carries him to the gates of Purgatory, he has a dream of being carried away by Big Bird.
Like in Hell, each level of Purgatory is associated with its own sin, and those on each level suffer an appropriate punishment, but since this is only Purgatory, things are toned down quite a bit, though there are still quite a few Guidos. First off, there's none of the "abandon all hope" business, and the souls of Purgatory all have a chance to climb to Heaven, whereas in Hell, all bets are off. Some of the sins punished in Purgatory are the same as those punished in Hell, but since the sinners weren't quite so evil, neither are the punishments. On the fifth Cornice, for instance, the souls guilty of gluttony are guarded by a dog that Dante's late friend Guido identifies as a labradoodle. Each time the poets pass through a higher gate, Dante gets his hand stamped with the letter P, and when he has seven of them, he will be able to pass through the ticket booth at the entrance to Heaven free of charge. But there is a catch...
Dante and Virgil make their way through the mountain of Purgatory just fine until, in the end, Dante must pass through the Ring of Fire to purge himself of Sin and pass through the ticket booth. Just when they arrive at the entrance to Heaven, far below, Virgil's peers in Hell start to miss him because he was a rather nice guy for one of the damned. Satan activates a high tech, version 666 homing device, and Dante's faithful guide vamooses before any goodbyes can be said, leaving Dante to leave Virgil behind like an old discarded rag (confirming something we all knew: Dante was a douche) and meet his new guide... his childhood crush, Beatrice. She immediately starts acting like a bitch around him about how he can't appreciate the fact that he made it through Hell. They go on to Heaven.
Beatrice takes Dante through the layers of Heaven, which are located on the moon, the sun, and most of the planets (Pluto being excluded). On the way, he meets, delightfully, one of his ancestors. However, he has bad news for Dante: he prophesies to him Dante's future exile from Florence by an angry mob of people who don't believe he has been on the moon, and that one day a guy named Neil Armstrong will receive Dante's honor. Dante, though, cannot get angry about this; that is known as wrath, and if he did, he would fall back into the seventh circle of Hell, so he and Beatrice continue on peacefully until Dante loses interest in her for the "Pure Heavenly Virgins" of Heaven (How can he do that? He freakin' lost all sin in Purgatory!). His new Guide is Søren Kierkegaard. Søren leads him to God where he is shocked to learn that... God the Father is Buddha, the Holy Ghost is Colonel Sanders, and Jesus is actually... Jesus!! This would explain why so many Popes were in Hell, though not why so many Guidos. Dante leaves us in the bliss of Heaven, One with the Divine Will. Dante then returns to Earth, when he gets home his cleaning ladys says: "Where the hell have you been"? After that there is an ad for Windows 1300 and for the Nintendo Thee. Then, the book finishes saying some ramdom, meaningless phylosophical crap. And they all lived happily ever after. Except for Guido, who got ran over by a truck. There's also this really shitty manga coming out next summer that's basically the Dante for a new generation. . And it's funnier, smarter, and has Oscar Wilde.