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The Da Vinci Code

Dan Brown

Chapters 96–101

Chapters 89–95

Chapter 102–Epilogue

Summary: Chapter 96

Silas wakes up with the sense that something is wrong. He sees the police car outside the building and realizes that the police are looking for him. In the process of fleeing the building, he accidentally shoots Bishop Aringarosa.

Summary: Chapter 97

At Westminster Abbey, Langdon and Sophie look for Newton’s tomb. Meanwhile, the Teacher stands outside Newton’s tomb with the cryptex. He doesn’t understand what orb the riddle refers to. When he sees Sophie and Langdon looking for Newton’s tomb, he realizes that Langdon might be able to help him decipher the final clue. He formulates a plan to force Langdon to comply.

Summary: Chapter 98

Langdon and Sophie go to Newton’s tomb and see that there are many orbs on it. Sophie sees a message from the Teacher scrawled on the floor. The message says he has Teabing and wants to meet Sophie and Langdon in the garden. In their haste to get there, Sophie and Langdon miss the sign saying that that area is under renovation. When they arrive at the route to the garden, they see that there is no exit. A door closes, and they are trapped—with Teabing, who is pointing a revolver at them.

Summary: Chapter 99

Teabing explains his treachery. Saunière refused to reveal the Grail because he had been threatened by the Church. The Church had killed the rest of Sophie’s family and promised to kill Sophie if the documents were revealed. Teabing orchestrated Saunière’s death and the deaths of the other three members of the Brotherhood. Because Sophie understood Saunière’s codes, he decided to keep Sophie and Langdon involved in the quest until the rendezvous at Temple Church, where he was going to steal the cryptex. Teabing asks Sophie and Langdon to help him find the Grail. Sophie swears she will not, because Teabing killed her grandfather. Teabing asks Langdon what he will do.

Summary: Chapter 100

Aringarosa, who lies on the ground outside Opus Dei’s house, remembers the meeting he had five months ago with the Pope’s secretary at Castel Gandolfo. The assembled officials told him that Opus Dei was to be severed from the Church by order of the Pope himself. The Church had become embarrassed by its affiliation with the sect because of Opus Dei’s aggressive recruiting practices, treatment of women, and habits of bodily mortification. Not wanting to embarrass Aringarosa and his order, they gave him six months to effect the separation himself. Shortly after that, the Teacher called Aringarosa and told him he had information that would lead to the discovery of a relic that would give him great power within the Church.

Silas, frantic, brings Aringarosa to the hospital. The doctor tells him that the bishop may be dying.

Summary: Chapter 101

By Newton’s tomb, Langdon tries to buy time by staring out the window and pretending to think about the password. He realizes that the password must be apple—the sign of Isaac Newton, and the symbol of Eve’s fall. He opens the cryptex, takes out the map inside, and then tells Teabing that he knows the password. He lets a flicker of doubt cross his face, so that Teabing thinks he is bluffing. Then he throws the cryptex, which he has put back together, up toward the dome. Teabing tries desperately to catch it, but the glass inside breaks. Langdon then reveals that he has the map. By this time, Teabing is disarmed and lying on the floor. Fache comes to the chamber and apprehends Teabing, who screams for Langdon to tell him what the map says as he is led away by.

Analysis

Silas’s pre-Aringarosa self, the self that was governed by violence and instinct, seems about to prevail and save him. Instead, it ends up causing him to shoot the Bishop. This unfortunate outcome suggests that once one has decided to use violence for any reason, as Silas has decided to use violence in the service of God, one must be prepared to see that violence erupt in unexpected, undesired ways.

Teabing’s anger at not being able to figure out the cryptex’s password is reminiscent of something Teabing said to Silas when he wanted to steal the first cryptex: “Only the pure of heart can open that, and you will not be able to.” Teabing, who is not pure of heart, can’t open the cryptex. The situation hearkens back to the legend of King Arthur and the sword, in which only Arthur, the pure of heart, could release the sword from the rock into which it was plunged.

At the moment of truth, Teabing reveals his motivations and machinations. Brown had hinted that the members of Opus Dei were the ones who wanted to find the cryptex so that they could bury the information even further, but it turns out Teabing was the one who wanted the cryptex. And far from wanting to keep the secret, he wanted to bring it to light. Although the reader has been told throughout the novel that openness is desirable, Teabing’s bloody quest casts doubt on the virtues of revealing secrets. In the moral universe of The Da Vinci Code, no amount of innocent blood is acceptable. In this context, Teabing’s actions are insane.

Just as Saunière set up the puzzle that Sophie and Langdon had to crack in order to find the Grail, Brown sets up a puzzle for us: who is the mysterious Teacher? Saunière’s puzzle concerned both the characters and the readers, but the puzzle of the Teacher’s identity is the readers’ alone to solve. Sophie and Langdon aren’t trying to find out who the Teacher is, because they don’t even know he exists. Moreover, they trust Teabing— perhaps too much—and do not suspect him of anything. Teabing’s jocularity and eagerness to help Sophie and Langdon won them over completely. The readers, in turn, fell for the distracting Opus Dei story line and decided that they, or some other Catholic sect, must be behind the Teacher.

The fact that the Church wanted to sever its connection with Opus Dei forces a reevaluation of the Church’s motives. The Church has been portrayed as the enemy, but it seems the Church is actually attempting to modernize itself by rejecting sects like Opus Dei. In the final chapters, Brown reveals that the Church isn’t actually the enemy.

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