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Themes are the fundamental and often universal ideas
explored in a literary work.
Dan Brown refuses to accept the idea that faith in God
is rooted in ignorance of the truth. The ignorance that the Church
has sometimes advocated is embodied in the character of Bishop Aringarosa, who
does not think the Church should be involved in scientific investigation.
According to The Da Vinci Code, the Church has
also enforced ignorance about the existence of the descendents of
Jesus. Although at one point in the novel Langdon says that perhaps
the secrets of the Grail should be preserved in order to allow people
to keep their faith, he also thinks that people who truly believe
in God will be able to accept the idea that the Bible is full of
metaphors, not literal transcripts of the truth. People’s faith,
in other words, can withstand the truth.
The Da Vinci Code raises the question
of whether history books necessarily tell the only truth. The novel
is full of reinterpretations of commonly told stories, such as those
of Jesus’ life, the pentacle, and the Da Vinci fresco The
Last Supper. Brown provides his own explanation of how
the Bible was compiled and of the missing gospels. Langdon even
interprets the Disney movie The Little Mermaid, recasting
it as an attempt by Disney to show the divine femininity that has
been lost. All of these retellings are presented as at least partly
Characters in The Da Vinci Code ignore
the power of women at their peril. Throughout the novel, Sophie
is underestimated. She is able to sneak into the Louvre and give
Langdon a secret message, saving him from arrest, because Fache
does not believe her to be capable of doing her job. Fache specifically
calls Sophie a “female cryptologist” when he is expressing his doubts
about Sophie and Langdon’s ability to evade Interpol. When interpreting
one of the clues hidden in the rose box, Langdon and Teabing leave
Sophie out, completely patronizing her. When she is finally allowed
to see the clue, she immediately understands how to interpret it.
Sophie saves Langdon from arrest countless times.
Other women are similarly underestimated. Sister Sandrine,
in the Church of Saint-Sulpice, is a sentry for the Brotherhood,
but Silas, indoctrinated in the hypermasculine ways of Opus Dei,
does not consider her a threat. And Marie Chauvel, Sophie’s grandmother,
manages to live without incident near Rosslyn Chapel for years,
preserving her bloodline through Sophie’s brother.
Ace your assignments with our guide to The Da Vinci Code!