The Da Vinci Code | Study Guide

Dan Brown

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The Da Vinci Code | Chapters 5–14 | Summary

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Summary

Chapter 5

Opus Dei is an extreme sect, loosely connected to the Catholic Church, with luxurious new headquarters located in New York City. Opus Dei translates literally to "God's Work." The Church frowns on Opus Dei's practice of mortification of the flesh but finds the relationship with the sect financially beneficial. Opus Dei bishop Manuel Aringarosa is packing a bag for Rome, where he anticipates winning a "battle." He ponders the controversy surrounding Opus Dei and its bloody practices. He notes, "We fear what we do not understand." The bishop receives a phone call from a man who tells him that Silas has "located the keystone." Aringarosa is delighted.

Chapter 6

Langdon views the body of the murdered curator. Saunière's corpse splays spread-eagle on the floor in the form of a five-pointed shape called a pentacle. The pentacle is an ancient pagan religious symbol of nature worship and the "sacred feminine." Langdon assures Fache that the pentacle is not a demonic symbol. The Church defined it that way to destroy its true meaning of feminine power and spirituality. Fache points out a large black-light marker that Saunière has gripped in his hand. When Fache turns on a black-light flashlight, Langdon is amazed by the messages glowing on the floor near the body. Meanwhile, Lt. Collet is in his office recording the conversation between Fache and Langdon.

Chapter 7

The caretaker of the Church of Saint-Suplice is an elderly nun, Sister Sandrine Bieil. She receives a phone call in the middle of the night to tell her to expect a visitor to the church soon. She gets out of bed and dons her nun's habit, waiting for the arrival of an Opus Dei monk. She ponders Opus Dei's contempt for women.

Chapter 8

Saunière's cryptic message is visible. It contains numbers and two strange exclamations. Langdon cannot decipher what any part of the message means. Fache uses his black-light flashlight to reveal a circle drawn around the dead man's body. It instantly reminds Langdon of da Vinci's anatomical drawing The Vitruvian Man. Fache thinks this similarity reveals that da Vinci dabbled in the "darker arts." Langdon corrects him, stating that da Vinci was interested in the divine feminine, not black magic. Da Vinci also included many Christian symbols in his art, Langdon says. Fache insists that Saunière's cryptic messages are about vengeance, not religion. Collet listens in, admiring the trap Fache is setting for Langdon.

Chapter 9

Fache is interrupted by a message that someone from the French Cryptology Department is coming: Sophie Neveu, a 32-year-old cryptologist and Saunière's granddaughter. Fache is furious. Sophie quickly deciphers her grandfather's numeric code clue. It is a mathematical Fibonacci sequence. She then tells Langdon that he has an important message from the U.S. Embassy. She gives him a note with a phone number. However, when Langdon calls it's Sophie's own number, with a warning message that he is in danger. He must escape to avoid arrest.

Chapter 10

Silas is on his way to the Church of Saint-Sulpice. As he drives he recalls his terrible childhood. He feels blessed to have been taken in by Opus Dei despite its harsh practices. Meanwhile, Aringarosa is flying over the Atlantic Ocean. He thinks of Silas and prays for the success of his mission, which was planned by the Teacher.

Chapter 11

Bezu Fache is contemptuous of Sophie's numerical analysis. She explains the Fibonacci sequence but admits that she's not sure what it means in this context. When Langdon gets off the phone, he lies that the message was about an accident at home, and he claims he must leave right away. Langdon retreats to the men's room while Fache goes to find Collet.

Chapter 12

Sophie meets Langdon in the men's room, and they try to figure out how to escape the museum undetected. Sophie has Langdon check his jacket pocket. Sure enough, he finds a tiny tracking device. Sophie says that Fache wants to charge him with Saunière's murder.

Chapter 13

Sophie reveals a part of the curator's message Langdon had not been shown: "P.S. Find Robert Langdon." She will help Langdon because she believes he's innocent. She explains that the message Saunière left was for her, not the police. The message will help Langdon solve the mystery. She tells Langdon she is Saunière's granddaughter.

Chapter 14

Fache is becoming impatient. Langdon is taking too much time in the men's room. Fache gets an urgent phone call from the French Cryptology Department.

Analysis

Opus Dei is a secret society loosely related to the Catholic Church. It is suspected of wanting to replace the Church's more lenient approach to Christian practice with its own extreme approach. The discussion of Opus Dei—and Silas and Bishop Aringarosa—hints at the possibility of a conspiracy to steal a valuable truth to gain power for the organization. When Aringarosa gets a phone call that "Silas has located the keystone," the sense of conspiracy deepens.

The subtheme of sexism arises through the discussion of Opus Dei's demeaning treatment of women, making them "acoustically and visually separated." They may enter an Opus Dei building through a rear door only.

As Silas approaches the Church of Saint-Sulpice, he thinks, "How powerful [finding the keystone] will make Opus Dei." It's a clear statement that Opus Dei is seeking the Grail to expand its power. Silas does not tell lies to achieve his mission. Instead he uses violence and murder. Still, the goal of conspiring to find a truth to cement one's power is clear here and is a strong theme in the book.

Bezu Fache becomes part of the truth versus lies and the conspiracy themes insofar as he has summoned Langdon to the crime scene. Supposedly Langdon is there to explain the strange markings on and around Saunière's body. In reality though, Fache has summoned Langdon to arrest him for Saunière's murder. Collet's recording everything said in the gallery to be used later in prosecuting Langdon reinforces the idea of a police conspiracy. Sophie Neveu's outgoing message that warns Langdon of his imminent arrest shows that she is also aware of the police conspiracy. The police conspiracy deepens when Langdon finds a tracking device in his jacket pocket.

When he views the body, Langdon begins to recognize symbols, such as the pentacle, a symbol of nature worship and the theme of the sacred feminine. When Fache counters that the pentacle is reviled by the Church as a satanic symbol, Langdon corrects him. This scene is the first time in the book that a historical bias and truth-denying conspiracy by the Church appears. The Church interprets a sacred feminine symbol as a symbol of the devil to bury the truth about the divine feminine. This interpretation bolsters the Church as the sole, male-dominated power over the Christian faith. However, Langdon cannot make sense of the seemingly meaningless exclamations (puzzles) Saunière wrote.

When Langdon recognizes the circle Saunière drew around his body as a duplication of a drawing by Leonardo da Vinci, the role of secrets in art surfaces. As used by da Vinci, the body shape and circle refer to "male and female harmony." The narrator explains that da Vinci "incorporated in many of his Christian paintings hidden symbolism," and Saunière was likely indicating this fact. Art and the secrets it hides in plain sight become important here.

The subtheme of sexism arises when Silas visits the Church of Saint-Sulpice. Sister Sandrine muses on the Church's sexism. She thinks its "views on women were medieval at best" and that "it seemed Eve's bite from the apple of knowledge was a debt women were doomed to pay for eternity." Sexism is overt when Sophie Neveu arrives at the Louvre. Sophie is a talented code-breaker, yet Fache is angry because he feels that women are "weakening the [police] department ... [because they] lacked the physicality necessary for police work ... [and] posed a dangerous distraction to the men." Sophie immediately disproves Fache's sexism by quickly deciphering the numeric code puzzle left by Saunière.

Sophie lies to Fache about having been sent by the Cryptology Department. Langdon lies to Fache when he excuses himself to use the men's room. They both deceive further when they plot to escape. However, their lies are justified in their search for the ultimate truth about the murder and the messages the murdered man left them.

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