Literature Study GuidesThe Name Of The RoseSixth Day Matins After Terce Summary

The Name of the Rose | Study Guide

Umberto Eco

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The Name of the Rose | Sixth Day, Matins–After Terce | Summary

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Summary

Sixth Day, Matins

Malachi of Hildesheim is missing from his stall during Matins. Both the abbot and Jorge of Burgos are clearly nervous about his absence. Malachi finally enters and sits in his stall. William of Baskerville looks relieved until Malachi begins swaying "in a curious fashion" as if falling asleep. Suddenly, Malachi slumps forward and collapses. The chanting stops as William runs to attend to Malachi, who is placed on the floor, unconscious. While bending over Malachi, William notes that his tongue is black and his fingers stained. As William holds him, Malachi regains consciousness for a moment and whispers to William "He told me ... truly ... It had the power of a thousand scorpions." William asks "Who?" but Malachi dies before he can answer. Gui is there and William asks him, "Who killed this man, after you so cleverly found and confined the murderers?" But Gui is nonchalant and denies that he "consigned to the law all the criminals loose in this abbey." Jorge sobs over Malachi's death. He moans, "It will never end ... O Lord, forgive us all!"

Sixth Day, Lauds

Malachi's body is prepared for its funeral. Nicholas of Morimondo is named to replace Remigio as cellarer. The abbot asks Benno to open the scriptorium and to "make sure no one goes up into the library alone." Benno will remain assistant librarian, but a new librarian must be named. William speaks with a monk, Pacificus of Tivoli, about who might replace Malachi as librarian. Pacificus hopes the new librarian is a monk who is "worthy, and mature, and wise." When questioned by William, Pacificus says the abbey librarian should know Greek and Arabic, but then he admits that neither Venantius nor Berengar knew Arabic, only Greek. Adelmo did not even know Greek. William reasons that knowing Greek is important because "all those who die with blackened fingers know Greek," as will, most likely, "the next corpse."

William thinks that Malachi's last words refer to the fifth trumpet in the Book of Revelation, which describes "the coming of locusts that will torment men with a sting like a scorpion's." He and Adso discuss the sixth trumpet, which "announces horses with lions' heads," so the next murder may "take place near the horse barn." William wonders if there is more than one murderer. He tries to think as a murderer would, but advises Adso to "imagine all possible orders, and all disorders" involved in these crimes.

Sixth Day, Prime

Nicholas, the new cellarer, escorts William and Adso on a tour of the "crypt of the treasure" belonging to the abbey. Most of this section is devoted to descriptions of the fabulous jewels, gold, and other precious stones and metals that make up the abbey's store of wealth, as well as a collection of relics.

During the tour, William asks Nicholas what Malachi was like, and Nicholas replies, "He was a very simple man." Nicholas discusses past librarians and how they were appointed. As a young man, Malachi falsely claimed to know Greek and Arabic and so was named assistant librarian. Abbey tradition is that the head librarian becomes abbot when the current abbot dies. However, this did not happen in the case of Abo, who was elected abbot even though he'd never been a librarian. Nicholas wonders aloud if Berengar and Malachi were murdered to prevent them from ever becoming abbot.

William and Adso leave the crypt. William heads for the scriptorium to reexamine the books on Venantius's desk. Before he leaves, William tells Adso not to believe in the relics he's seen in the crypt.

Sixth Day, Terce

Adso goes into the church to pray for Malachi's soul. As he listens to the monks chanting, he has a bizarre dream in which everything is topsy-turvy, or the exact opposite of what it is in life.

He dreams he's in the hellish kitchen with Abo, Jorge, other monks, and Jesus at a large dining table. There is great merriment among those present. When an imposing and bejeweled woman enters, she transforms into the Virgin Mary. At the abbot's invitation, an enormous host of biblical characters comes into the dining room, from Adam to Cain and Abel, from Noah to Moses, and a crowd of others. They all sit down and begin to stuff themselves with food. Jorge ignites a burning bush. Others come in carrying "choice game of every shape and color," which the assembled guests gobble up eagerly. Jesus eats a donkey; Saint Francis eats a wolf. Everyone becomes roaring drunk, including Fra Dolcino, who "rests his head on the shoulder of Bernard Gui." Adso dreams that the Aedificium bursts open and scientist Roger Bacon appears on a flying machine. The seven trumpets of the Apocalypse sound as the abbot rages that everyone is trying to steal from his "treasure crypt."

A girl enters, and she's instantly torn apart by the crowd. Fragments of the crypt whirl through the room. Then Adso notices that all the guests are mummified and transformed, with individual bodies becoming part of "a single dead body." This "macrobody" then separates into parts. The bodies, or parts, are tormented by a "great beast." Adso is not scared, for the torment comes from Salvatore, a "good devil." The guests transform and become recognizable again. They thank the abbot by beating him, which he takes for tickling. The Minorites enter carrying "purses full of gold," and everything seems upside down. Adso is about to follow the guests outside to hunt truffles when William enters and wakes him up. Adso hears the final words of the funeral chant.

Sixth Day, After Terce

Adso joins William outside, where he bids farewell to the Minorites. Adso tells William his dream in detail. William tells him his dream is a variation on the buffoonish storybook "Cyprian's Dinner" (Coena Cypriani), which all novices read even though it's considered a "sacrilegious parody of Scripture."

William assures Adso that his dream is just his understandable reaction to having "experienced a series of events in which every upright rule seems to have been destroyed." But Adso's dream has revealed a new idea to William. He will use parts of Adso's dream to "work out [his] hypothesis" about the abbey murders. For William, Adso's dream is "an allegory or an analogy" for what's been happening at the abbey, and William will follow this analogy to see where it leads.

Analysis

William interprets Nicholas's assessment of Malachi's character to mean that Malachi may in fact know how dangerous the secret book is. The blackened tongue and fingers on Malachi's dead body are a clear sign that the librarian has been murdered in the same way as the others, probably by handling the secret book. William seems to correlate the deaths with the reading of a Greek book, even though Adelmo knew no Greek and Nicholas said it's likely Malachi did not know Greek either. It remains to be seen if William's perspective on the murders, which correlates the crimes with the trumpets in the Book of Revelation, is accurate. If so, the sign of the sixth trumpet will apply to the next murder. It also remains to be seen if William is correct in predicting that the abbot will be the next victim because he knows the secret of the finis Africae.

Jorge's lament that "it will never end" likely refers to his understanding that the pursuit of knowledge, particularly forbidden knowledge, is unstoppable. This also implies that the murders of those who seek forbidden knowledge will continue. However, Jorge is described as the monk having the most knowledge of the books in the finis Africae. Nicholas says if anyone "wanted to know the location of [a] ... forgotten book, he did not ask Malachi, but Jorge," who knows both Greek and Arabic. This implies that it is Jorge who holds forbidden knowledge he wants no one else to have.

The relics held in the abbey crypt are treasured by the abbey as revered signs of its holiness. This abbey, like many others in medieval Europe, boasted bits and pieces of objects directly connected to the living Christ. William, though, skewers the gullibility of those who believe the relics are authentic. Yet, the relics are signs to the simple faithful who view them as a confirmation of their faith.

The signs Adso sees in his dream convey an upside-down world in which people, things, and events are the opposite of what they are normally. Some signs in his dream seem to relate to the dreadful events at the abbey. The abbot yells that "a most precious book had been stolen which spoke of scorpions and the seven trumpets," a clear reference to the Apocalypse and to the secret book in the hidden room.

William declares that he will pursue his investigation of the murders from a new perspective. He understands that a new perspective often affords new and more meaningful interpretations of signs and thus yields new information and knowledge. Adso realizes his dream might be a "mysterious message in which learned people can read distinct prophecies." William, a learned man, thus decides to approach his investigation based on Adso's dream.

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