Dante & LOST

This will be short.. I hope. This is a thought that came to me a few minutes ago. I was thinking about LOST as a whole – not just the recent season.. but how the show progresses and functions as a whole.

One thing that struck me was how the show has been structured. It has 3 basic parts:
1) Flashbacks – we discover the past lives of our characters before the came to the island.
2) Flashforwards – we see their lives as they have ‘escaped’ the island for the time being.
3) Flash sideways – we see their lives in an alternate time period or future reality

Now, I can’t quite explain how this popped into my head.. but.. it did. This structure seemed similar to Dante’s Divine Comedy in which there are also three parts:
1) Inferno – a wonderful description of the 9 cirlces of hell
2) Purgatorio – where Dante climbs the mountain towards the third part…
3) Paradiso – the paradise where Dante finds Beatrice.

Now.. it strikes me that our losties lives before they came to the island were not so fantastic.. so along the lines of Inferno. When the Oceanic six escape the island… their lives are somewhat good.. somewhat bad.. awaiting judgement.. or awaiting a return to the island.. so roughly paralleled with Purgatorio. Our flash sideways – for a lot of our characters – have shown noble and good qualities.. lives where our characters are.. for the most part.. happy.

It’s not a perfect parallelism, but it is a good framework for a possible understanding of how the show functions as a whole – rather than trying to understand it bit by bit.

Any thoughts or additions?

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4 thoughts on “Dante & LOST

  1. Interesting idea. I just don`t think most viewers have grasped the timeline we are seeing is not the alternate timeline. The producers have said so on many occasions.

  2. I don’t think the new timeline is all that happy. Kate’s still on the run, Claire is still a single mother wanting to give up her baby, Jack is divorced and only just hanging on to a relationship with his son, Locke is paralysed, sayid has to see Nadia married to his brother, Ben is in a noend teaching job unappreciated. That’s not what I’d call happy, it’s different to the first timeline we saw but I don’t think it’s much better fo most of the characters.
    On the alt timeline, I believe they have a problem with alternate when it is being used to allocate importance to one or the other. The two timelines are equal timelines. I think sideways gets a bit confusing because some people are taking asthough they are happening at the same time rather than us being shown 2004 and 2007. It’s still another timeline, and I don’t think many of us have a better term to use- they all have their problems.

  3. Brokenankh, I really enjoyed this theory. Great job on making a connection to Lost and Dante.

    Tas, I have to agree with you on the term ‘flashsideways’ being confusing. I’ve allways viewed what we have been watching as another universe. What we have been seeing is stock and trade when it comes to science fiction, particularly when time travel is involved.

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