Da Vinci Code

The Secrecy of Spirituality Depicted In the Da Vinci Code

June 7, 2021 by Essay Writer

What if The Holy Grail was not the chalice that Lord Jesus Christ drank wine from for the last time? What if the Holy Grail symbolizes the wedded wife of Lord Jesus, the Saviour Christ and the Son of God? What if this is only one of the truths that the Holy Church has concealed for about two thousand years? The mystery and the wonderment that lies in people’s faith and beliefs is more important than the facts that might prove them right or wrong. In “The Da Vinci Code” , the key characters have unswayable faith and act accordingly, carving out the fate of the protagonists, Robert Langdon and Sophie Neveu, and the outcome of the novel. A murderous albino, a recklessly determined British historian and the heroic brotherhood called the Priory of Sion – all have a common goal – to sway the fate of the Holy Grail towards the bias of their faith and beliefs. Their individual pursuits and encounters with the protagonists reveal the details about the truth and the lies that fog the perception of the Holy Grail.

Right from the first incident in the story till the climax, an albino is depicted as a monk who has been sent by the Church to kill every person that comes in the way of the attainment of the Holy Grail. Silas believes that because the Opus Dei and the Bishop Aringarosa led him to washing away his sins, his goal lies in following the self-punishing ways of his cult and in aiding whatever the Church wishes to achieve. His blind faith in the Church is shown when he justifies his actions by thinking that “His service to God today had required the sin of murder, and … in his heart for all eternity.” Silas believes that the ends justify the means. He does not believe that it is wrong to murder because he will find the Grail. This facet of him is clear when he thinks to himself before one his murders that “The keystone. It will lead us to our final goal.” Thus, Silas stands for the capacity of the Church to change people completely, into followers of the cult that it can be, an important idea in the novel.

A British historian by the name of Leigh Teabing is shown as being hell-bent on using any means possible to reveal the truth about the Holy Grail to the world, thereby destroying the foundation of a number of principles of Christianity. Teabing is actually the mysterious Teacher who has ordered all the killings and he explains that the murders and his betrayal of Langdon and Sophie is noble when he says: “[It] would have been far simpler … Instead I risked everything to take the nobler course.” Like Silas, Teabing too has the belief that the ends justify the means. During the climax, he explains this when he says that, “Every Grail quest requires sacrifice.” It is ironic because though he orders the murders, he does not make one personal sacrifice on his so-called “Grail quest”. Thus, Teabing stands for the capacity of people to manipulate others and fuel their causes by “sacrificing” them.

At the core of the novel is the pursuit that leads the protagonists closer and closer towards a heavily guarded Christian secret, the true Holy Grail. The Prior of Sion that guards this secret believes that however explosive the secret, the truth must be kept alive. For this reason alone, numerous members have sacrificed their lives in order to follow their beliefs. Langdon explains this to Sophie when he says, “The Priory vowed that no matter how long … , so the truth would never die.” Ever since their foundation, The Priory of Sion has passed on this secret to only four men at one time. Teabing later consolidates Sophie’s knowledge about the subject, when he says, “But the brothers would never talk. … Even in the face of death.” This symbolizes the commitment of the Priory in working for the faith that the members share. Thus, the Priory of Sion stands for the capacity of people of a similar belief to go to the greatest lengths to keep the faith intact.

Thus, the key characters do play pivotal roles in the outcome of the novel. Their faiths and beliefs show how the central subject, the Holy Grail, and its importance are perceived differently; how their actions are justified differently. Although the faiths and beliefs of people differ so greatly, it is incredible how the ends always seem to justify the means and the most accurate of facts do not matter then. Who knows what the Holy Grail really holds in store? Who knows whether it exists or not? Who knows whether even God exists or not? Certainly, the world would have been trying incessantly to find answers to these questions had it not been for the faith, void of any logic, that binds groups of people into societies and carries everyone forward on the path of their belief. And yet, some people do feel the need of facts and therefore, embark upon “Grail quests”. But, just as shown in the climax of “The Da Vinci Code”, it’s the faith that prevails, not the facts.

Read more

Literary Review of the Da Vinci Code, by Dan Brown

June 7, 2021 by Essay Writer

Title: In Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, cryptologist Sophie Neveu and Robert Langdon, a professor of symbology, embark on a mission to uncover Neveu’s past and many hidden truths. The title of the book has a literal significance; Leonardo Da Vinci’s artwork reveals clues throughout the novel. The title of the book refers to Da Vinci’s works: The Mona Lisa, The Last Supper, and Madonna of the Rocks. The symbols presented in Da Vinci’s artwork are significant but veiled. Therefore, the art represents a coding, which the protagonists must decipher to find the meaning of the Holy Grail, and what it possesses.

Characters: The main characters of the story are Robert Langdon, Sophie Neveu, and Leigh Teabing. Robert Langdon is one of the major protagonist roles; he is of American heritage and is around his forties. Langdon is a symbology professor at the University of Harvard, his main strength is academic; he is gifted with symbolism and religious history. Regardless of Langdon’s clumsiness, he is a very trustworthy companion, “My husband obviously trusted you, Mr. Langdon, so I do as well.” (pg 442) Sophia Neveu acts as another protagonist; she is a cryptologist for the French Judicial Police. Throughout the story and she works with Langdon to uncover the secrets of her grandfather’s past. She is young, attractive, quick-witted, lively, and compassionate, “Slowly, she opened her eyes and turned to him. Her face was beautiful in the moonlight.” (pg 448) Langdon and Neveu serve the author’s purpose of representing the balance between male and female forces, thus they both complement each other as the role of the protagonist. The main antagonist of the story is Leigh Teabing. Teabing is an English knight and a devotee to the study of the Holy Grail. Primarily seeming loyal, he acts like an ally to Langdon and Neveu on their quest for the Holy Grail. The book goes through a turning point at the very end by revealing that he is the mastermind in the murder of Jacques Sauniere and the events that follow; “Langdon could not fathom that Leigh Teabing would be capable of killing them in cold blood…yet Teabing certainly had been involved in killing others” (pg 409). Even though Langdon and Teabing were associates for a very long time, he proved to be a disloyal and selfish.

Setting: Brown’s novel The Da Vinci Code begins in the Louvre Museum in France, where a member of the Opus Dei murders Jacques Sauniere, master of the Priory of Sion. The story is set in the general areas of France and London, but the setting consistently changes because the novel is set in third person omniscient. The overall atmosphere of the story is mysterious and action packed; the third person omniscient point of view allows the reader to understand the feelings of all the characters involved. When Langdon and Neveu are in the Chateau Villette, Teabing’s private residence, Dan Brown contrasts the setting with events occurring in the Depositary Bank of Zurich. In the residence, Langdon, Neveu, and supposed ally, Teabing, discuss the secrets of the Holy Grail and the church; the mood is comfortable and private. On the contrary, the events in the bank are hectic; the police are trying to decipher where Langdon and Neveu are hiding. The constant change in atmosphere allows the reader to look at the situation from both perspectives but around the same time. The setting of a story allows the reader to make inferences on events that will happen and the character’s feelings. When a setting is ambiguous, the atmosphere becomes tenser around the character; as a result, the reader can often infer a change of events. The setting in this story makes events more thrilling and action packed.

Structure and Plot: The novel is written in third person omniscient; therefore, the reader knows the thoughts and actions of all of the characters in the story. Because the story portrays the thoughts of different characters, the reader is not limited to one plot, but a branch of events that relate to one topic. Brown also applies foreshadow in the narrative. When Teabing says, “I apologize if I am pressing, Miss Neveu. Clearly I have always believed these documents should be made public, but in the end the decision belongs to you.” (pg 295) This excerpt from Teabing later reveals his desperation to reveal the secret in the end of the novel, which results in betrayal. The novel begins at 10:46 P. M. in the Louvre Museum, where a monk of the Opus Dei murders Jacques Sauniere, the leader of the Priory of Sion and Neveu’s grandfather. Immediately, authorities contact Langdon, but agent Neveu warns him of the danger of arrest; they escape and gradually decipher the mysteries of the Priory of Sion. In the middle of the story, they manage to find the “keystone” which will also reveal the location of the Holy Grail. In London, Teabing, who is originally allied with Langdon, admits to his scheme with the Grail and the murder of Sauniere. Finally, when the case is resolved, Neveu and Langdon discover that she is a descendant of the Grail, and they discover the secrets of the Priory of Sion. The sequence of events gradually twists in the end allowing the plot to be more thrilling.

Theme: Faith and Religion- Every religion in the world depends on metaphors and things that cannot be explained, but faith is the acceptance of things that cannot be proven. Langdon expresses this belief when he says, “Every religion describes God through metaphor, allegory, and exaggeration… Metaphors are a way to help our minds process the unprocessible. “(pg 341) Langdon is not necessarily opposed to any religion, he believes that every church has the right to believe what they need to believe to become better people; “those who truly understand their faiths understand the stories are metaphorical” (pg 342). The metaphor that any faith implies allows people to understand the bible and apply it to their own lives.

Tone: Brown’s attitude toward the novel is suspenseful. Dan Brown made the narrator anonymous and third person omniscient, therefore the story consistently changes to different sun-plots; consequently, the chapters are very short and sacrifice detail. The novel begins with the murder of Jacques Sauniere, “Wincing in pain, he summoned all of his faculties and strength. The desperate task before him, he knew, would require every remaining second of his life.” (pg 5) Because the novel begins with tragedy, the events that follow the murder are suspenseful. Brown also applies many symbols in the novel, including the pentagram, the Holy Grail, and the chalice. These objects have religious meanings and are often controversial. The tension between the different points of views in the religious debate prompt a suspenseful atmosphere around the characters.

Literary Devices: “Should we wave a flag and tell the Buddhists that we have proof that the Buddha did not come from a lotus blossom? Or that Jesus was not born of a literal virgin birth? Those who truly understand their faiths understand the stories are metaphorical.” (pg 342) Symbolism is the use of an object, person, place or action that has both a meaning in itself and that stands for something larger than its definition, such as an idea, belief or value. In The Da Vinci Code, Robert Langdon explores the conflicts of religion with the real world. Langdon explains the allegorical element in every religion, and the effect it has on its followers. The lotus blossom and the virginal birth signify the birth of prophets that represent purity and salvation. The two symbols “are a way to help our minds process the unprocessible.” (pg 342) The symbols behind religious ideologies attract people to accept one ideal or another. Faith allows people to blindly follow certain beliefs and aspire to become better people.

Memorable Quotation: “Langdon smiled. ‘Sophie, every faith in the world is based on fabrication. That is the definition of faith— acceptance of that which we imagine to be true, that which we cannot prove. Every religion describes God through metaphor, allegory, and exaggeration, from the early Egyptians through modern Sunday school. Metaphors are a way to help our minds process the unprocessible. The problems arise when we begin to believe literally in our own metaphors.’” (Robert Langdon, pages 341-342) The metaphors that create a faith are so influential; many seek a faith to become a better person. The standards set by a particular religion have different meanings, and they can be perceived in one way or another. I believe Langdon is correct; faith relies on the writings of holy books, but there is no witness to prove the truthfulness of events. Faith plays a key role in people’s lives; the belief of the scriptures inspires people to become better.

Read more

Review of the Da Vinci Code

June 7, 2021 by Essay Writer

Having read this book when it first came out, and being enthralled with the religious ideas as put forth by Dan Brown, when I saw this as an option on the list, I knew that The Da Vinci Code had to be the movie I chose to write about. It is important to note that the movie stayed very true to the spirit of the book in that all the major themes were still present, and the character likenesses were consistent with the original author’s intent.

The movie takes place in both France and England. It is cast with a very internationally diverse group of actors, and is one of the most “international” movies I have ever seen. Many times, American movies are made with an all-American cast of actors who don an accent to appear to be from a foreign locale. In this movie, French, British and American actors came together to more accurately portray their characters and maintain an authenticity that is often missing from American cinema. In fact, some of the French actors do not speak English at all, thus making the use of sub-titles necessary, and again, removing the ethnocentric American ideal that all actors should speak English because it is an American film.

The main characters in the movie are Robert Langdon, Agent Sophie Neveu, Sir Leigh Teabing, and Silas. Langdon is an American professor who specializes in religious symbolism. Of all the characters he is truly the only one who is as he appears. He is a finder of facts. He refers to himself as a “flatfoot of history.” His job throughout the plot is to uncover the truths behind the mystery, regardless of what the mystery may be. He does not become involved in a love affair, he does not use or abuse his position. There is nothing in it for him, except the truth. Sophie is a strong female character. She is the heart of the mystery and does not know that until the end. She is an honest character in that her motives are pure. She is involved because of her grandfather, and while she is resistant to her inclusion in the mystery, she too is seeking the truth. My belief that Sophie is not what she appears is not because she is intentionally deceitful, but rather because her identity is the climax of the movie, and because she (and the audience) does not know this, it is for this reason that Sophie is not what she appears. Silas is portrayed as a zealot. He is willing to do whatever is necessary to protect the only family he has ever had. While his actions are deplorable, he truly believes that he is doing the right thing with each action he takes. Finally, Teabing. Teabing is the mastermind behind all of the violence, the seeker of the Grail, but for less than honorable reasons. We meet him and he seems to be one of the good guys, an ally to Langdon in the search for the truth. By the end, we know that to be false.

The themes presented by the movie challenge the very heart of Christianity. It is put forth through a series of puzzles, art interpretation and historical symbols that the Holy Grail, long believed to be the cup that Christ used at the last supper, was actually a person. And not just any person, but the direct descendent of Christ himself. In order for Christ to have descendents, this would mean that he had sex. The premise put forth is that Christ was married to Mary Magdalene and they had a child together. It is this child that perpetuated the royal bloodline of Christ throughout the centuries, and an organization called the Priory of Scion was created to protect the secret of the grail. The heart of Christianity is that Christ was pure. He did not have sex, he did not have the pleasures of man. For Christianity to exist the way it does, there is a truth in that men are the heads of the church, hence the Pope, Bishops, Cardinals (all referred to as father), and that women are there to serve the Lord through their dedication to serving the men. If the Grail is a person, and not just any person, but a child of Mary Magdalene, then this means that Christ’s church is perpetuated by a woman, not by Peter (a man) as is what is put forth in the gospels of the Bible. The idea of a woman being the head of the church is a very paganistic idea, and this challenges all of the teachings of the Bible.

The author spends a great deal of time referencing the Priory of Scion, the Knights Templar and Opus Dei. All of these are “secret societies” generally of the Vatican, and integral to the protection of the Grail. Since all of these actually do exist throughout history, the idea that the function of secret societies and lies perpetuated by the Vatican as far as the truths that motivated the growth of Christ’s church, this is all challenging to the heart of Christianity. Through the use of Silas, the author shows an extreme individual who uses self-flagellation in varying degrees, and is willing to commit murder for what he believes in, and because this comes off as insane to onlookers, it also opens the door to doubting the sanity of people who buy into the Vatican teachings in a zealous fashion. Not only does it create questions for non-Christians, but it opens the door for believers to begin questioning just what it is they believe and whether or not the Church has been covering up truths, and lying to followers.

Overall, I think that Dan Brown did an amazing job of taking historical facts, historical theories and fictional suspense in creating this work. If his goal was to create doubts and questions, he certainly accomplished that. I recall the uproar from the Vatican and from the population in general. I also recall the debates, the tv shows, and the articles written discussing the premises as laid forth by the author. Could there be truth to them? How real might this whole idea be? Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code opened the door for perspectives, and discussions that might have otherwise remained hidden. As a Christian who was going through Catholic confirmation at the time the book came out, I loved the way in which the author brought out all of these hypothetical ideas. I still believe in Christ, and in the teachings of the New Testament, but I look at all of it slightly differently. I am more likely to seek out the answers, and not just accept the Vatican teachings as gospel. I hope that others are as willing to do the same. It makes for great debate!

Read more

Character Analysis of Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons

May 6, 2021 by Essay Writer

Robert Langdon

Robert Langdon is a Harvard University professor of history of art and ‘symbology’. Langdon is an expert in Illuminati related conspiracies and finds himself pursuing the Illuminati in Vatican City and Rome in an attempt to save people from the explosion of stolen antimatter from CERN facility in Switzerland. Langdon goes on to be the main character in four more Dan Brown books, perhaps most notably, The Da Vinci Code. Langdon is also claustrophobic, a result of an accident back in his childhood. He is often seen wearing a Mickey Mouse watch and Harris Tweed jacket. He claims that the reason he wears the Mickey Mouse watch is to remind him of always being a child at heart. He is a Harvard University professor of history of art and ‘symbology’. In the story, Langdon is also romantically involved in Vittoria Vetra, daughter of Maximilliam Kohler, a murdered CERN physicist.

Vittoria Vetra

The fellow-scientist and adopted daughter of a murdered CERN physicist, Vittoria helps Langdon in his pursuit of the Illuminati, eventually resulting in her capture. She is also the romantic interest of the protagonist, Langdon. Vittoria is quick-witted and more confident than Langdon. She also is a professional yoga guru and can displace limbs at will.

Maximilliam Kohler

Kohler is the director at CERN laboratories when a physicist named Vetra is found murdered. Kohler appears later in the book, believed to be the Illuminati henchman, Janus. Kohler is a tetraplegic and thus has a disdain for religion in general. He plays a vital role at the end of the story and is hinted as the villain for a little period of time to tease the audience.

Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca

The Camerlengo was a close man to the recently deceased Pope and offers his assistance to Langdon in pursuit of the Illuminati. However, his reliabilities are tested and it is believed that Ventresca may have ulterior motives. He is said to be soft-spoken and is sometimes by overshadowed by other officers.


The man who kidnaps and plans the execution of the cardinals. He is also lusty and has a poor opinion of women. He is a descendant of a race of assassins who drugged themselves. He had contempt for the Vatican, which is exploited by the Illuminati to use him as the muscle behind the whole plan.

Under the watchful eyes of Father Silvano Bentivoglio and Dr. Vittoria Vetra, the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) initiates the Large Hadron Collider and captures three vials of antimatter. Immediately afterward, someone kills Father Silvano, using his retina to infiltrate the containment chamber, and steals one vial.

The Roman Catholic Church mourns the death of Pope Pius XVI in Rome. Vatican City prepares for the College of Cardinals’ papal conclave, which will select the next Pope. Until that time, Camerlengo Patrick McKenna, a papal court official and former helicopter pilot, assumes temporary control of the Vatican. Reporters, nuns, priests, and other faithful members of the Church crowd into Saint Peter’s Square, waiting for the white smoke from the conclave, signalling a successful vote. But the Illuminati, a 400-year old, underground secret society, kidnap the four most likely candidates before the conclave enters seclusion. The Illuminati threaten to kill one every hour, beginning at 8:00 pm, and then destroy the Vatican in a burst of light at midnight. A stolen security camera shows the missing antimatter vial, which will catastrophically explode when the vial’s battery dies and the magnetic containment field fails.

The Vatican summons symbologist Robert Langdon from Harvard University and Vittoria Vetra from CERN to help them solve the Illuminati’s threat, save the four preferiti, and replace the vial’s batteries. Langdon listens to the Illuminati message and deduces that the four cardinals will die at the four altars of the ‘Path of Illumination.’ However, no one knows where these altars are located. Vetra demands that Commander Richter, the commandant of the Swiss Guard, to bring Father Silvano’s diaries from Switzerland, hoping that they contain the name of the person with whom Silvano discussed the antimatter experiment. Langdon also demands access to the Vatican Secret Archives (something he has requested for 10 years) to see the original copy of Galileo Galilei’s banned book, which may contain the locations of the four ‘altars of science.’ Using the clues from this book, Langdon, Vetra, Inspector General Ernesto Olivetti, and Lieutenant Valenti of the Vatican Gendarmerie Corps race to the first church, only to find the first cardinal, Cardinal Ebner, dead, suffocated with dirt, eaten by rats and branded with the word ‘Earth.’ They verify the second altar’s location and arrive, only to witness the death of the second cardinal, Cardinal Lamassa, his lungs lacerated and his body branded with the word ‘Air.’ While Vetra studies Silvano’s diaries, Langdon and the Vatican officers locate the third church and try to save the third cardinal, Cardinal Gudiera, from burning to death, but the assassin appears and kills everyone but Langdon. The cardinal succumbs to the flames, his body branded with the word ‘Fire.’

After escaping, Langdon convinces two Carabinieri officers to race with him to the last church of the ‘Water’ altar, but the assassin murders the officers and drops the fourth cardinal, Cardinal Baggia, into the Fountain of the Four Rivers. However, Langdon saves the cardinal, who tells him the location of the Illuminati’s lair: Castel Sant’Angelo. When Langdon and Vetra arrive, they are confronted by the assassin, who spares their lives since they are not armed and he has not been paid to kill them. He reveals that his contractors were from the Catholic Church. The assassin escapes and finds a vehicle containing his payment, but is killed by a car bomb upon igniting the engine. Langdon and Vetra discover that the final victim of the plot will be Camerlengo McKenna. After arriving at the Vatican via a secret passage, they and some Swiss Guards enter the Camerlengo’s office and find him in the floor branded with the Vatican’s symbol on his chest and Commander Richter near him with a gun. The Guards promptly kill Richter to save the camerlengo. During the confusion, the dying commander gives Langdon a key to his office. Then the camerlengo, Langdon, Vetra, and the Swiss Guards discover the location of the stolen antimatter vial. By the time they find it, the battery is about to expire, the deadly explosion just minutes away. The camerlengo seizes the vial and uses a helicopter meant for escape from the Vatican to fly above the church. He then activates the autopilot and escapes with a parachute. After several seconds, the bomb explodes and the camerlengo lands, now considered a hero by the crowd and even as the best candidate to be the new Pope by the College of Cardinals. Meanwhile, Langdon and Vetra use Richter’s key to watch a security video showing that the mastermind behind the murders of the original Pope and the preferiti and the antimatter robbery, in fact, is the camerlengo and not the Illuminati. While Richter tries to arrest McKenna, the priest brands himself with a seal that resembles Saint Peter’s upside-down crucifixion and accuses the commander being a member of the Illuminati. Langdon shows the video to the College. After the camerlengo realizes his plot has been uncovered, he immolates himself with oil from one of the 99 holy lamps inside St. Peter’s Basilica.

The Vatican announces that the camerlengo died due to internal wounds suffered during his landing, while the public demands he be canonized. The College designate the Cardinal Baggia as the new Pope (who chooses to take on the name Luke), and Cardinal Strauss as the new camerlengo. The new camerlengo thanks Robert Langdon for saving the Vatican and the new Pope, and as a mark of his gratitude loans Galileo’s ‘Diagramma Veritas’ to Langdon for his reference.

Read more

My Opinion About the Book Da Vinci Code

May 6, 2021 by Essay Writer

The Da Vinci Code is a modern classic in the mystery genre. Filled with puzzles, twists, and mysteries. The book is highly praised by most. I, however, did not enjoy the story or its mystery. Despite being praised as a modern classic I see the book as just so so. The character’s are all bland especially the main character Robert Langdon. I did not like this book and I found it to be incredibly plainplane.

The mystery of this story relates back to its namesake, Leonardo Da Vinci. It revolves around the idea of a secret society named The Priory Of Sion (Priory) and the fact that they have the holy Grail. The two main characters Langdon and Sophie Neveu are charged with a murder they did not commit. The person who actually committed the crime being someone who disliked the Priory and is searching for the keystone. Langdon and Sophie now must go on a quest to find the keystone, and reveal the secrets of the Priory of Scion, the very secret society Leonardo Da Vinci was once lead.

For me the overall premise of the book was boring. The motivation for the characters to act (being accused of murder) just didn’t seem realistic in the slightest. The evidence was all circumstantial and the whole twist of who put everything in motion again didn’t make much sense. The puzzle which was the main focus for the longest time on the book would have probably been easily solved by some modern-day power tools. This book doesn’t have any plot holes, simply gaping holes in logic which sucked me out of the experience and made me realize that I was reading a book.

The characters in the Da Vinci Code were mostly boring and uninspired. Langdon, a middle-aged man whothat does whatever Sophie tells him to do. Sophie, a femmegem fatale, and Fauche a bullheaded police officer. Now all of the characters in the book weren’t a bore simply the ones you spend the most time with. See the problem here? There were characters like Lee Teabing and Silas who in Silas’s case ironically had more independent thought that Langdon. I could never become invested with either of the main characters, making each scene that was supposed to create tension just another boring and played out scene. I can see why this story was liked by so many, but, if you remove the religious controversy it’s an incredibly safe story that’s easy to get behind. This book might have been grown breaking once but now it’s just incredibly cookie cutter in my eyes.

Read more

Overview of Da Vinci Code

May 6, 2021 by Essay Writer

An Essay on Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code

When one begins to read the novel The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, a riveting mystery is expected. The title and genre of the book prepare the reader to encounter some history of Renaissance artists and an original construction of an enigma based around a code. What is surprising about the novel is that it also contains a very loud social statement regarding feminine oppression. In the novel, Dan Brown makes a point about the more surreptitious side of misogynism by creating a though-inducing mystery, making allusions to the ancient and all-so-important bible, and making use of situational irony to show how the female form and essence has been more repressed than is generally believed.

The Da Vinci Code is without a doubt a mystery novel, however, the mystery serves not only to entertain and amuse, but to give rise to profound questions about the social issue of the discrimination of women and femininity. In the novel, more than ten people die looking to protect a secret, thousands of dollars are invested, and the effort and time of intellectuals is used to create codes and covers in order for a mystery to be kept, and in the end, the secret all along was the fact that Mary Magdalene and Jesus Christ were in fact together and had children. The mystery in the novel sparks many questions in the reader: “Why is the catholic church so intent on getting a hold on the secret scroll?” “What does this scroll contain?” “Why is there an organization of some of history’s finest intellectuals working to protect the content of the scroll, and why is it called the Priory of Sion?” When these questions are answered by the uncovering of the fact that Mary Magdalene was part of Jesus’ life and that he could love her as a woman, the reader starts to consider other questions like “why is it so terrible for Jesus to have taken a wife?” This question is answered throughout the book in an analysis of feminine anti-divinization. The novel goes into the depth of the evolution of societies from the worshipping of both the feminine and the masculine as divine to the monotheism and masculinization of deity that exists nowadays. In this way, through mystery, Dan Brown builds on the discrimination towards femininity that has been present in Western thought throughout history.

Dan Brown makes his argument stronger by basing a large part of his mystery on the Bible and christian (more specifically catholic) thought. Misogyny in the Bible is a subject that has been criticized and questioned innumerable times by diverse sources for containing statements such as “Women are spoils of war” (Judges 5:30) and “Let a woman learn in silence with all submissiveness. I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over men; she is to keep silent.” (Timothy 1:2), however, stating that the catholic church has been actively withholding realities about the life of their messiah Jesus Christ in order to repress feminine action and leadership within the church is somewhat an original idea of Brown’s. The fact that Dan Brown decided to take the religious aim at the problem of misogynism throughout history is not only what got his novel banned, but what made his thesis stronger. In the novel, it is stated that “It was not Peter to whom Christ gave directions with which to establish the Christian Church. It was Mary Magdalene… That was the plan. Jesus was the original feminist. He intended for the future of His Church to be in the hands of Mary Magdalene.” By including the biblical portion of the novel, Dan Brown expresses his point about how females are not only repressed in society, but in the deepest basis of our ideals, in our religion and history.

Now, not only the mystery and allusions in the novel serve to make a point about misogyny, in the plot and characters of the novel misogyny is present in its most evident form when one of the main characters, Sophie Neveu, is ironically underestimated and sublimated by her male counterparts. These male counterparts are no other than Robert Langdon and Leigh Teabing, intellectuals, self proclaimed “feminists” and defenders of the importance of the female identity in history. This characters, although they claim to be respectful of females, repeatedly exclude Sophie Neveu, a recognized cryptologist from the French Judicial Police, from their intellectual activities because they don’t believe in her abilities. With this conflict, Dan Brown makes a point about people “talking the talk and not walking the walk” when it comes to gender equality. Langdon and Teabing recognize each other as equals, but are incapable to do the same with Sophie because she is a feminine being, proving to be hypocritical and blinded by the inherent misogyny that comes with western society. Brown demonstrates how it is not only in important texts were misogyny can be seen, but in the daily lives of men and women.

Dan Brown’s statements about gender inequality consist on more of a revelation than an actual critique. Brown shows how misogynism that should be apparent and obvious is questionable and mysterious for people because it is so rapidly accepted. He demonstrates how gender inequality has been present in the foundations of our society by using the example of the Bible, and enraging many in the process of enlightening many more on a social issue. And finally, Brown shows how modern society has not overcome the oppression of femininity that it has seen for centuries. The novel The Da Vinci Code is more than a brilliant mystery, it is a brilliant take on gender equality throughout history and in modern times.

Read more

Hero Cycle as a Crucial Element in Da Vinci Code

May 6, 2021 by Essay Writer

The Hero Quest/Search for the Holy Grail

The Hero Cycle is portrayed in nearly every aspect of the Da Vinci Code, every character goes through most, if not all of the cycle steps. Robert Langdon, the obvious protagonist, experiences all, a few steps (even) several times. Sophie Neveu, the novel’s second protagonist, also goes through her own trials and tribulations throughout the novel, guiding us through her own Hero Quest. Silas, the antagonist who experiences redemption, also has his own Hero Quest. These characters quests overlap, but still remain singular in their own steps.

Robert Langdon, a professor of Symbology, is formally presented to the reader in his hotel room in the middle of the night, during this Langdon gets a phone call demanding he allow a police officer in his room, he tries to refuse the visitor, but ultimately the officer enters his room. The officer then requests that Langdon go with him to investigate the murder of a famed museum curator, Jacques Sauniere, showing him a disturbing image that ignites Langdons fire to jump in and help the case, this in the Hero’s Quest, is Langdon’s call to action. Referencing the Hero’s Quest, Langdon is thrust into this adventure against his own wishes. As Langdon enters the Louvre and meets several of the novel’s other characters, he becomes more and more hesitant as to whether or not he wants to be included in the craziness of the night, similar to the Hero Quest step of refusing the call. His first encounter with crossing the threshold comes as he enters the room of the murder scene under the steel bars with Fache, he even mutters something along the lines of “it’s going to be a long night”, proving to be a place where he was overexposed and unsure of what was going to occur. As Sophie Neveu enters the Grand Gallery to present the Fibonacci Code to Fache, she introduces herself to Langdon and warns him of impending danger, she then requests he meet her in the bathroom to assure he doesn’t get arrested, in a way, this is Sophie acting as Langdon’s mentor. Langdon’s second crossing of the threshold happens when he enters the bathroom and officially commits to aiding Sophie in her quest to figure out why she and Langdon were brought together. From that point on, Sophie and Langdons hero’s quest blend together.

Sophie Neveu is initially presented as an extremely intelligent cryptographer, but the reader learns by the end of the novel that she is also a direct descendant of Jesus Christ, making the beginning and end of her hero’s journey vastly different from Langdons. Sophie Neveu had a very strange upbringing, she was raised by her grandfather from a young age due to both her parents, her brother, and her grandmother dying in a car wreck. To add to her already strange situation, her grandfather routinely set up intricate puzzles, treasure hunts, and mysteries that Sophie had to solve, her odd upbringing aligns with the hero’s journey step of a bizarre childhood. Sophie’s call to adventure is when she receives news that her grandfather has died under mysterious circumstances. While she was at work, she analyzed the the images of the crime scene to discover Sauniere positioned in her favorite image, the Vitruvian Man, as well as her initials from her nickname P.S. “Princess Sophie”. After reviewing seeing all of these signs, Sophie knew she had to become involved, leading to her call to adventure. A different aspect of the Hero’s cycle that Sophie experienced, more so than Langdon, was the aid of a supernatural mentor, which in this case was her grandfather, Jacques, even though he had died, he left her with numerous clues to help her answer all of her questions and guide her to discovering that she is a descendant of Christ.

From the moment that Robert Langdon and Sophie Neveu leave the bathroom in the Grand Gallery, their adventure intertwines, the two of them experience several tests along the way. Firstly, they almost destroy a multi million dollar painting to avoid being shot at, then then run from the police as wanted criminals. There next large test is when they visit a Swiss bank with extremely high security and privacy rules, once there they needed to figure out a 10 digit code to be able to view what is inside the secret lock box, once figured out, the two of them get their first cryptex. The cryptex itself is another test they must figure out, several times over, through a series of codes and clues, Langdon and Sophie unlock the numerous cryptexes to lead them to their final destination. After their several tasks, they reach the “approach” in the hero’s cycle, which allows them to prepare for a new major challenge, this in the novel is when Langdon and Sophie seek refuge and knowledge at Teabing’s home. Once arrived, they learn more about the Grail and their quest than they ever imagined possible, that prepares them for their next step in their journey. After traveling to London on Teabing’s private jet, yet another task on their quest, Langdon, Sophie, and Teabing all travel to the Temple Church hidden within modern day London, there they get attacked by Silas and Remy, who steal both the cryptex and Teabing, which in the hero’s quest is “The Ordeal. “The Ordeal” is essentially is the point where the protagonists experience one of the quests biggest tribulations, which in the movies case, is losing the cryptex. Langdon and Sophie, after losing Teabing and the Cryptex, move to King’s College to figure out more about where exactly to find the grail. While there, they discover that it’s Isaac Newton’s tomb that they have been looking for, which in the case of the Hero’s Quest, can be seen as “The Reward”, where there is a chance that they could lose the end goal, but they have reached a breaking point that could lead them to the grail. “The Road Back” in the typical Hero’s Quest is where the protagonists are almost to their goal, but get stopped by a major problem, in the novel, this is where Leigh Teabing finally exposes himself as “the teacher”, essentially screwing over Sophie and Langdon, who they had thought had been on their side since the beginning, in this moment, Langdon breaks the cryptex containing the secret to the Holy Grail, this is the leading action into the climax, which occurs immediately after Teabing’s arrest. In that, Langdon reveals to Sophie that he secretly opened the cryptex and discovered the papyrus inside, this leads them to Scotland to find the final resting place of Mary Magdalene and the Holy Grail. Once there, Sophie discovers her grandmother and brother are both still alive and well, in the novel, this is “The Resurrection”, where all of the novels previous problems and tribulations finally get solved. After discovering that she has a family, Sophie discovers that she is a direct descendant of Jesus Christ, she then has the power to expose herself and destroy Christianity itself, or “renew” people’s faith in Christianity itself, this is Sophie’s point where she “Returns with the Elixir”. Langdon on the other hand, goes back to Paris and desperately wants to figure out where the final resting place of Mary Magdalene is, one night it hits him and he discovers that she is under the Louvre, where Jacques could keep an eye on her, this was Langdons “Return with the Elixir” moment.

Silas is a very complex character in the novel, he is initially seen as the villain, but in the end, he gets his own resurrection and becomes a more understanded character. We first see Silas killing Jacques Sauniere in the Louvre, which prompts the reader to ask why he would do such a thing, in following Silas chapters, the reader then learns about his traumatic family life, about his father killing his mother, and Silas killing his father. Following his home life, Brown writes about Silas going on killing sprees, eventually landing him in jail, this for Silas is his Ordinary World. Silas’s “Call to Adventure” comes when he is in jail and a giant earthquake causes his cell to be broken open, essentially freeing him. He passes out and is saved by a mysterious man, who he wakes up to find is being beaten to death by thieves, Silas decides by some act of fate to save the man being beaten up by beating them up instead, which could be classified as Silas’s “Refusal of the Call”, since he is going back to his old ways. Silas has both Aringarosa, the man who saved him, God, his ultimate savior, and in a way, the “Teacher”, as his mentors; they all guide him through his life, helping him make the “right” decisions. His ultimate “Crossing of the Threshold” comes when Silas decides to commit himself to the Opus Dei church and to god, he decided to give up his old ways and his past in favor of the church. Silas experiences several tasks throughout the novel that prove his allegiance to the church and to the “teacher”, his killing of Jacques Sauniere, killing of the nun in Saint-Sulpice, almost killing for the cryptex, essentially all of his tasks that the “teacher” provided him with are the tests he has to complete in his Hero’s Quest. When Silas sneaks into Teabing’s home to attempt to steal the cryptex, gets tied up, and taken to London, that is his “Approach”, where he knows that he is preparing for a major challenge. Silas’s “Ordeal” is when Remy grabs a small handgun out of the glovebox of the car while Teabing and the others are in the Temple Church, he discovers that Remy is on his side and is going to help him aid the “teacher”. After discovering Remy’s plan, he and Silas bombard Langdon, Sophie, and Teabing in the Temple Church, they hold the protagonists at gunpoint and steal the cryptex and their information source, Teabing. This for Silas is his “reward”, for the entire novel, he has been chasing the cryptex to assure the survival of the church. For Silas’s “Road Back” it begins with Remy dropping Silas off at the Opus Dei London home, once there, the police bombard him and attempt to arrest him, a ginormous shootout occurs, leaving Silas, Aringarosa, and several officers shot. Silas accidentally shot Aringarosa, his mentor and savior, leaving Silas with an enormous pile of grief. His “resurrection” comes after he drops Aringarosa off at the hospital, as he’s trying to run away from his problems and life, it begins to rain, signaling his rebirth and the cleansing of his sins. Brown gave Silas the ultimate resurrection, allowing him to come full circle and ultimately allowing his soul to repent.

Read more
Order Creative Sample Now
Choose type of discipline
Choose academic level
  • High school
  • College
  • University
  • Masters
  • PhD

Page count
1 pages
$ 10