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The Da Vinci Code | Study Guide

Dan Brown

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The Da Vinci Code | Motifs



The Da Vinci Code is full of diverse puzzles. Each puzzle is a clue that leads the characters closer to the Grail. However, each puzzle seems to be only more confounding than the last. The seemingly endless and incomprehensible puzzles show how precious the Grail is and why it must be hidden by layers and layers of mind-bending conundrums.

Obscure Languages

One of the ways the Grail is hidden is by using messages or clues composed in obscure ancient languages. Other times clues appear through incomprehensible language in word games, such as alphabet substitutions or anagrams. The use of obscure language and complex language puzzles underscores the value of the Grail and the need for secrecy in hiding it. It also makes the Grail clues available to only those clever enough to interpret them correctly. Saunière likely left these types of clues because, though they'd be mystifying to almost everyone else, he knew that Sophie was trained in deciphering them; he intended them for her specifically.

Art and Secrets

In the novel artworks contain hidden information about the Grail. Grail secrets were hidden in works by some artists who were members of the Priory of Sion or who understood the truth about the Grail. The keys to knowledge forbidden by the Church are hiding in plain sight in some paintings, especially those by Leonardo da Vinci. These secrets are available only to those who know to look for them within the artworks and interpret them correctly. The uninitiated can gaze at a painting forever and not see what the knowledgeable and initiated see as revealed meaning. Art is thus aligned with the truth that emerges from hidden clues and symbols.

Sex and Spirituality

In several places the novel shows sex as a spiritual ritual. Sophie is estranged from her grandfather because she has misinterpreted the sexual ritual she observed him taking part in. As is explained in several parts of the book, sex between a man and a woman can be a religious ritual that fuses the male with divine feminine energy. Sex is spiritual in this novel, not erotic.

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