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The Da Vinci Code

Dan Brown

Chapters 53–61

Chapters 45–52

Chapters 62–67

Summary: Chapter 53

Vernet calls the manager of the bank and has him activate the tracking system on the armored truck.

Summary: Chapter 54

Langdon smuggles the cryptex into Teabing’s house and hides it underneath a divan in the grand sitting room. Langdon and Sophie sit on the divan and Teabing enters the room. Langdon says that Sophie doesn’t know the true story of the Grail, and Teabing says he will tell her.

Summary: Chapter 55

Teabing explains that Leonardo Da Vinci thought the New Testament was written by men, not God, and that some gospels had been left out. Constantine the Great was determined to unite his subjects under one religion, so he reformatted the Bible in 325 A.D. To make the idea of Jesus a unifying force for his subjects, Constantine turned Jesus from a leader into a holy man. Constantine also included in the Bible many symbols of the sun-worshipping religion his subjects had previously followed. Teabing shows Sophie a picture of the Da Vinci fresco The Last Supper. There is no chalice or Holy Grail present in the painting, as many people think, but only wine glasses for each person. Teabing says the Holy Grail is not a thing, but a person.

Summary: Chapter 56

Langdon explains that the Holy Grail is a woman. He shows Sophie the ancient symbol for male and female. The symbol for female resembles a chalice. The Holy Grail is just a metaphor for the embodiment of the sacred female, which has been lost through Christianity. Langdon and Teabing tell Sophie that the Holy Grail is not just any woman, but a specific woman. At this point the manservant, Rémy, sees photos of Sophie and Langdon on television.

Summary: Chapter 57

Collet receives a tip about Langdon’s and Sophie’s location. He gets in his car and heads to Versailles. Meanwhile, Silas breaches the wall of the estate. He is determined to get the keystone.

Summary: Chapter 58

In Teabing’s study, the scholars show Sophie a representation of Mary Magdalene in The Last Supper. In the painting, she is shown sitting next to Jesus. The painting also contains several representations of chalices and the letter M. Teabing says Jesus thought highly of Mary, to whom he was married. According to Teabing, Jesus gave Mary instructions to carry on his ministry. Peter the apostle hated Mary and was jealous of her. Mary herself was the descendent of the line of Benjamin, a powerful line. Jesus and Mary had a child, or children, they tell her.

Summary: Chapter 59

Bishop Aringarosa calls Opus Dei in New York to see if he has any messages and finds that a number was left for him. He dials it and reaches the French Judicial Police. A man comes on the line and says he has a lot to talk to the Bishop about.

Summary: Chapter 60

Teabing and Langdon show Sophie all of the books that substantiate their claims about the bloodline of Mary. Teabing says that the Holy Grail is a sarcophagus—Mary’s body—and that the documents prove that everyone in Mary’s blood line is related to Jesus. Teabing also says that the Merovingians, French royals, are also descendents of Christ, and that the founder of the Priory of Sion was a descendent. Sophie starts to think that perhaps her family has something to do with this. Then Teabing’s manservant calls him into the kitchen.

Summary: Chapter 61

Langdon tells Sophie that neither Saunière nor her mother, whose maiden name was Chauvel, are Merovingian, so she could not be of the line of Mary. He tells her about all the modern mythology and works of art, from Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute to Walt Disney’s films that reference the story of the lost sacred feminine. Teabing comes back into the study and demands to know what is going on.

Analysis

Brown begins to introduce more variables, perhaps because only a few secrets are left to uncover. Vernet, a man who initially seemed to be on the side of Sophie and Langdon, has now changed sides. It remains to be seen whether he knows something they do not and exactly why he betrayed them to the authorities.

Teabing says that he doesn’t get letters from offended Christians, because smart Christians know that the Bible isn’t all it seems to be. Brown glosses over the protests of the small faction of Christians who believe that the Bible was, as Teabing says, sent by fax from Heaven. By presenting the idea that most Christians are smart enough to realize that history has had an effect on the Bible, Brown asks his Christian readers to keep an open mind about what the characters in his novel say.

Brown has already introduced the idea that the Holy Grail could be something other than a cup, but the idea that it could be a person, and a specific person at that, is new. Brown has thrown another theory in the mix and piques the reader’s curiosity about what the Grail will look like when it finally materializes. The question is whether a single person has carried the secret all of these years.

Both Collet and Silas hope that if they find the keystone, the world will cheer them. Collet wants to impress Fache and redeem himself for his earlier missteps, and Silas wants to please the Bishop and the Teacher. Neither Collet nor Silas fully understand the historical significance of the object they seek.

Langdon refers to scotoma, which means the way in which the brain reinterprets the truth when it expects to see a certain thing. Scotoma gives The Da Vinci Code its power over our imaginations. Almost every claim made in the novel is the opposite of conventional wisdom. The idea that a woman sits by Jesus’ side in The Last Supper is likely a new one to readers, as is the idea that Jesus had a wife and children. The fact that these theories are unfamiliar gives credence to Langdon’s claim that the Church has hidden them.

Langdon’s allusion to Walt Disney as one of the people who has promoted the Magdalene myth is unexpected, particularly because some feminist theorists have criticized Disney for propagating the myth of the helpless female. Langdon singles out The Little Mermaid as a film that contains Magdalene iconography. Perhaps, Langdon suggests, the helpless females of Disney have all referred to Mary, who was robbed of power by the Church.

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