“Fourth rung of hell”

RORY: Fourth rung of hell, party of one.

LORELAI: Well, at least my feet won’t get cold.

Rory references the Inferno, the first part of Italian writer Dante Alighieri’s 14th century epic poem, the Divine Comedy. The Inferno describes Dante’s journey through Hell, guided by the ancient Roman poet, Virgil. In the poem, Hell is described as nine concentric circles of torment located within the Earth.

It is not certain from this whether Rory has actually read the book, although it doesn’t seem unlikely that she has. There are circles of Hell in the poem, not “rungs”, and the fourth circle of Hell is for the miserly, the hoarders of wealth, and those who squandered it – not people gloating over relationship break ups (those are dealt with in the next part, the Purgatorio). However, that could very easily be a bit of artistic licence on Rory’s part.

Lorelai possibly gives away that she hasn’t read the poem when she says her feet won’t get cold. In fact, the final circle of Hell is a huge frozen lake. Hell does actually freeze over. The frozen lake is reserved for the traitors, who remain trapped in the ice, and in the very centre of the lake is Lucifer, who was a traitor to Heaven.

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