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The Handmaid's Tale

The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood CELEBRITY DEATHMATCH REVIEW*(* entertainment purposes only) The Handmaid's Tale v. Dante's Divine ComedyAs I was traveling along life's path, I became lost in a dark wood. In this setting, most unfamiliar, I encountered the poet Virgil, who offered to take me into his care. We proceeded deeper into the foreign territory, through a series of stations, each more fantastic than the last. After a long while, we stopped at the outskirts of what appeared to be a broad circular wall."This is the First Circle of hell", Virgil instructed, "where the unbaptized reside for eternity."Within were indeed the many figures from history who had gone unbaptized: Ovid, Homer, Euclid and others. It was a cold and dull place, so we proceeded quickly past the wall.After much walking, we stopped at a second wall, where Virgil explained: "This is the Seond Circle of hell, wherein dwell those who indulged their lust." Inside, a powerful wind was blowing, upsetting the inhabitants. It was then I spied a familiar face, her countenance aged since the last time we met, but it was unmistakably her. "Offred!" I yelled out... and she saw me. Fighting the wind, she came over and offered greetings. What animosity she may have held against me, she had long since let go. Poor sweet girl. She confessed her affair with my driver, Nick. On hearing, Virgil pronounced that she was rightly placed in this circle. I offered her my condolences, and she nodded solemnly before being blown away.The Roman poet and I proceeded though smaller concentric circles now, vitising gluttons and the greedy, the angry and violent, the fraudulent and the treacherous. In each of these, I had opportunity to meet many old aquaintances. My wife- who defrauded me by arranging Offred's secret meetings with Nick- was herself living in the Eighth Circle, where demons force her even now to march without rest. Also in that circle I was shocked to discover many Sons of Jacob, and fine leaders of fair Gilead! What secrets men hold in their hearts!In the final circle, Judas and Satan himself suffered torments, along with men named Hitler and Cheney and Rockefeller. It was a sight most terrible. Each man had a host of demons dedicated to perfecting the misery of his neverending punishment. I turned to beg Virgil to bring us out of this place with greatest haste, but he was standing quite apart from me now, and from the look on his face, I instantly understood the game. My own demons were rising up to greet me. The ugliest of these smiled as he picked up a club, and told me: "We've been waiting a long time for you, Commander."I called out to Virgil: "Is that it?!?? You aren't even going to engage your opponent directly, in a celebrity deathmatch review?"The demon landed his first blow with the club, sending a wave of blinding pain through my neck and shoulder. I lay on the ground now, and heard Virgil's mocking words: "I'm already in Hell! What did you think you could do to me? How did you think you were going to win this one?"I summoned all my strength to reply. "Send the religious fundamentalist politician to Hell? It's a bit obvious, isn't it?"Virgil was further away now, but I still heard him. "That's kind of the point... if Atwood had made you a more nuanced character, you might not be where you are right now. I'll give you this: The Divine Comedy kind of hits you over the head with its values too, but NOBODY can touch Dante Alighieri when it comes to style!"And then he was gone.MATCH POINT: The Divine Comedy