Monday, 11 June 2012
Da Vinci Code Essay- Recurring Themes and Motif's and how they teach us Lessons
The Da Vinci Code, by Dan Brown is a rather unique book. It doesn’t just have one theme, it has many different unique themes and motifs, which are shown in different ways. For example, Dan Brown shows how underestimated women are, even in today’s world. He also demonstrates the conflict between faith and science, as well as the subjectivity of history. The Da Vinci Code is a perfect example of how the themes in a piece of work don’t necessarily have to be meaningless; we can learn significant life lessons from anywhere.
The Da Vinci Code teaches us many things, but one of the most important things is that it shows how powerful women are. It also highlights how underestimated they are, and how women are able to push past what people think of them. Throughout the novel, Leigh Teabing and Robert Langdon are constantly patronizing the main female character, Sophie Neveu, but on numerous occasions, she has proven them wrong. For example, when the men of the group are unable to solve the code, they leave Sophie completely out of the conversation, but as soon as she sees the code she solves it immediately, leaving the two men flabbergasted. As well, she is the only female cryptologist in her workplace, and the police officer, Fache, expresses his doubts about her on many occasions: “Women not only lacked the physicality necessary for police work, but their mere presence posed a dangerous distraction to the men in the field.” (Pg. 50). But Sophie isn’t the only female who is showing how powerful she is. Sister Sandrine, who is a nun in the church of Saint-Sulpice, is a lookout for the Priory of Sion. But since she is a woman many people do not consider her a threat, so she isn’t taken into account. Dan Brown brilliantly includes these stories, making these women an inspiration to many people, and teaching us a lot of lessons along the way.
Another unique theme in the Da Vinci Code is the conflict between knowledge and religion. He makes many references to the fact that much of the information within the bible is metaphoric, and that a lot of what religion is, is people’s interpretation of this information. Dan Brown illustrates how many people who work in science refuse to respect people’s belief’s, but he more clearly shows that many religious people feel that the church should have nothing to do with science. They both somewhat acknowledge that the other is there, but they don’t want to have anything to do with the other. Bishop Aringarosa is a perfect example. On many occasions he says that the church shouldn’t ever be involved with scientific experiments and that the church is of a different caliber than the knowledge based population. “Faith - acceptance of which we imagine to be true, that which we cannot prove.” Dan Brown also shows how the church refuses to believe the existence of Jesus’s descendants, and works to rid the world of such evidence by trying to find and destroy the Holy Grail. Through these different stories within the novel Dan Brown shows us a different side of religion and faith: “Every faith in the world is based on fabrication... Every religion describes God through metaphor, allegory, and exaggeration, from the early Egyptians through modern Sunday school... Should we wave a flag and tell the Buddhists that we have proof 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. 341-342). This novel is a perfect way of showing that each religion is based on an event that may not be quite true, but people who are really getting something out of their religion are the ones that understand that their religion could be based on a metaphor or a fabrication.
The last recurring theme/motif in this novel is the subjectivity of History. Dan Brown shows us that what we are taught might not always be the truth and how our history books might not be correct. “History is always written by the winners. When two cultures clash, the loser is obliterated, and the winner writes the history books-books which glorify their own cause and disparage the conquered foe. As Napoleon once said, what is history, but a fable agreed upon?” (Pg. 256). Dan Brown has incorporated commonly told stories about the past, but has shown modern interpretations of them, that point out small details which lead us to question the version we have always heard. For example, the fresco: The Last Supper; most people have heard that it is a painting of 13 men, and at the end of the supper they all drink out of one glass, the chalice. But, in the story we learn that there is actually one woman in the picture, Mary Magdalene, and that each person has one wine glass. These small details actually mean a lot, and cause us to question other things, such as the pentacle, and Jesus’s life. Dan Brown also gives us an interpretation of the Disney movie: ‘The Little Mermaid’, saying that it is an interpretation of History, showing how the “divine femininity” has been lost. This novel is just trying to show us how history is just a one sided account, and that we should never fully believe a story, how we should always be looking at it from another side as well, and that we should be constantly trying to interpret the stories we have always heard.
The Da Vinci Code, by Dan Brown has many different themes and motifs throughout, but it also has some interesting life lessons incorporated into these themes. In this novel an underlying theme and lesson is that women should be strong, even if they are underestimated. Dan Brown also shows how one should understand one’s beliefs in order to really get something out of them. Lastly we learn that we should always be questioning the things we hear. These themes that are shown throughout the novel are reminders of things we already should know, but that are sometimes overlooked in the hustle and bustle of everyday life.