Theatre Macabre: Season 1 Episode 3 The Tortures of Hope

From Television and Film Character Encyclopedia

A doctor is tortured during the Spanish Inquisition.

Series Index

Theatre Macabre (1971-1972)


Host - Christopher Lee

Dr. Abarbanel - Henryk Boukolowski

Grand Inquisitor - Wladyslaw Hancza

Inquisitor 1 - Henryk Borowski

Inquisitor 2 - Janusz Klosinski

Scribe - Tadeusz Somogi

Character thumbnails with links to profiles

Detailed Synopsis

The Host introduces Villiers de l'Isle-Adam's story, The Torture of Hope.

Dr. Abarbanel looks out his prison cell window as a group of prisoners are tied to stakes set above a pile of wood and grass. A group of religious men, including the Grand Inquisitor and Inquisitor 1 slowly make their way towards the prisoners. An executioner then lights the grass on fire and the prisoners burn to death.

In the past, Dr. Abarbanel is brought before the Grand Inquisitor, Inquisitor 1 and Inquisitor 2. He is accused of profaning the bodies of the dead and he argues that in order to cure disease, he must know how the human body works. Inquisitor 2 says that Claudius Galenus never used the bodies of the dead, but Dr. Abarbanel says that Claudius Galenus was wrong in thinking that animals and human suffer from the same ailments. The Grand Inquisitor asks Dr. Abarbanel where he comes from and what the people are like. He asks Dr. Abarbanel what he has learned from his research. Dr. Abarbanel describes different organs of the body including the heart. The Grand Inquisitor asks about the soul and Dr. Abarbanel says he has no knowledge about it. Inquisitor 2 accuses Dr. Abarbanel of seeking self glory and Inquisitor 1 tells Dr. Abarbanel to confess his sins. Dr. Abarbanel refuses to say anything and the Scribe says that by order of the Pope, failure to respond during an Inquisition will lead to torture. Dr. Abarbanel refuses to confess and Inquisitor 1 orders him to be tortured and the Grand Inquisitor agrees.

Later, the Grand Inquisitor and Inquisitor 1 come to visit Dr. Abarbanel after he has been repeatedly tortured. The Grand Inquisitor asks for his forgiveness for having to have him tortured. He says that he was forced to do it in order to save Dr. Abarbanel's soul. He tells Dr. Abarbanel that tomorrow he will be burned to death. Inquisitor 1 also asks for forgiveness for what he had to do. They leave and Dr. Abarbanel notices that the door isn't closed. He sneaks out of the room and makes his way towards the prison entrance. He sneaks by Inquisitor 1 and Inquisitor 2, who are discussing the torture of female prisoners and finds the remains of a prisoner tortured to death. He makes it outside and stares at the majesty of the mountains and is startled by the Grand Inquisitor who tells him he is disappointed in him and hugs him before telling Dr. Abarbanel he will soon be with God.