Hofstra University Honors College's Blog

After I took C&E last year, I was surprised how many allusions from C&E books we read were in popular culture. For example, I realized that Beatrice from A Series of Unfortunate Events is an allusion to Dante’s Beatrice in his Divine Comedy. I also began watching Lost last year and I was astounded by how many references there were to things that I had just learned in C&E. Here’s a list of some of the allusions that I picked up on.

-John Locke: This is the most obvious allusion. The character of John Locke is based off of the philosopher by the same name. Although we didn’t read anything he wrote in C&E, he often came up in discussions, especially his Tabula Rasa theory. One of Lost’s episodes is titled Tabula Rasa and the theme of the episode revolves around his blank slate theory.

-Desmond David Hume: The majority of the characters in Lost are named after famous philosophers. Desmond is a reference to David Hume, the philosopher we read in C&E. Like David Hume, Desmond is Scottish.

-Penelope Hume: Penelope is the wife of Desmond Hume who still believes that he is alive after he disappears while sailing. Sound familiar? Her character is an allusion to the Odyssey. Penelope is the loyal wife of Odysseus who believes he is still alive after he doesn’t return from the Battle of Troy.

-Paulo: Paulo is the adulterous lover of Niki and their love eventually leads to both their deaths. He is an allusion to Paolo, the adulterous lover of Francesca, in Dante’s Inferno.

-In Season two of Lost, John Locke is working on a crossword puzzle. Past C&E students should know the answer to the question, “Who is Enkidu’s friend?”

-Although this isn’t a direct allusion, one of my friends recently told me that whenever she watched Lost, she was reminded of the Tempest. Both the story of Lost and the story of the Tempest revolve around people stranded on a magical island. There are also some similarities between Ben and Prospero. Both Ben and Prospero are controlling leaders who manipulate the powers of the island for their own needs.


Comments on: "C&E References in Lost" (2)

  1. Warren Frisina said:

    That’s always been our secret goal, to make it possible for HUHC Students to plumb the depths of Lost. 🙂 Seriously, this is a fun post. There is something empowering about discovering these allusions are out there enriching various kinds of creative projects. We all awake to find ourselves in the middle of a “centuries-long conversation.” It’s nice to be able to some of the references so we can better know what’s going on, and where we are in that conversation.

  2. Thomas Wright said:

    References to C&E run deeper than this in \Lost, but I won’t spoil the fun. Just as an important note, anyone who is watching out for the name dropping that \Lost employs (like Desmond David Hume, John Locke, Farraday, Jeremy Bentham, etc) should also note that a lot of the character’s statements and actions are in accord with their real-life counterparts. (Though this isn’t always the case… so don’t assume too much.)

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