Is ‘American Horror Story’ Based on Dante’s ‘Inferno’?
Lady Gaga, American Horror Story: Hotel
Credit: FX    

American Horror Story

Is ‘American Horror Story’ Based on Dante’s ‘Inferno’?


The latest, greatest American Horror Story fan theory might have you scrambling for your English class notes.

A year and change ago, Ryan Murphy recently announced all the seasons of the FX anthology are connected, which is why characters like Pepper and Sister Mary Eunice appeared in more than one season.

Now TV blogger Jacqueline Bircher is positing the theory that the series correlates to Dante’s Inferno — the first part of the 14th-century epic poem Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri.

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In that story, a guide named Virgil leads Dante through the nine increasingly sinful circles of Hell — Limbo, Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Anger, Heresy, Violence, Fraud, and Treachery — until they reach Satan at the center of the earth.

In this new theory, each season of AHS corresponds to a different circle, with one sin emphasized more than the others in that season.

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As examples, Murder House is Lust because of multiple affairs and instances of male gaze. Asylum is fraud because the nuns’ actions at Briarcliff are anything but pious. Coven is Treachery because of the witches’ underhanded ploys to win the Supreme title. Freak Show is Greed because of the multiple attempts to sell the freaks to a museum. And Hotel is Gluttony because of the vamps’ insatiable hunger for blood.

As TV Guide notes, continuing the Inferno metaphor, Ryan Murphy is Virgil and the audience is Dante.

If Ryan & Co. really are following this theory, perhaps that means they only have nine seasons in mind — or ten, if you count Dante and Virgil’s time with Satan at the earth’s core. That’s a whole lot of sin ahead of us.