Tag Archives: Ingmar Bergman

What the hell is hell?

As I reported, my former blogs have been hacked, so–begin at the beginning, a very good place to start!

Since my topic was evil, I’d like to write about the changing concepts of hell. For many years it was the fiery pit, and much great art so depicts it, including Michelangelo’s ceiling. While it is true the Bible refers to being thrust into “the fiery furnace,” the exact interpretation of “Fiery” need not be actually fire. In the twentieth century, at least two artists defined it as repetition–Ingmar Bergman in The Devil’s Eye,” and George Bernard Shaw in the detachable third act of Man and Superman,Don Juan in Hell.

What would it be like to awaken every day, knowing t he same thing would happen,  as in Bergman?  (An idea used in making the film Groundhog Day). An eternal state of boredom? Fortunately Bill Murray discovers the key: love, attention to one’s fellow humans.

More complex (and funnier) is Bergman’s The Devil’s Eye.Here is a direct confrontation between good and evil, a simple country pastor, and Don Juan, the great seducer, sent back to earth to seduce the pastor’s daughter, for there is an old saying, “A Virgin’s chastity is a stye in the devil’s eye.” There are many subtle interchanges between the characters–the parson and his wife, his daughter and her fiance, the pastor’s wife and Don Juan’s servant, Pancho) I hope I got it right) and the pastor’s wife. Like Bergman’s masterpiece, The Seventh Seal,it poses many things to think about. I am not a student on the subject, but I know some theologians believe hell goes on forever, and some do not.

Slightly before Shaw, Paris was considered,  the capital of black magic, and if it interests you, get a copy of J.K. Huysman’s La

Bas. Please pardon  the lack of accent marks; I had it all down before this hack occurred.  However, one priest has Jesus tattooed on his heels so he will always step on him. During World War !, the French soldiers called No Man;’s Land La Bas.

So–I’d love some comments on your ideas on the subject!