The Da Vinci Code
While in Paris on business, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon receives an urgent late-night phone call: the elderly curator of the Louvre has been murdered inside the museum. Near the body, police have found a baffling cipher. While working to solve the enigmatic riddle, Langdon is stunned to discover it leads to a trail of clues hidden in the works of Da Vinci -- clues visible for all to see -- yet ingeniously disguised by the painter. Langdon joins forces with a gifted French cryptologist, Sophie Neveu, and learns the late curator was involved in the Priory of Sion -- an actual secret society whose members included Sir Isaac Newton, Botticelli, Victor Hugo, and Da Vinci, among others. In a breathless race through Paris, London, and beyond, Langdon and Neveu match wits with a faceless powerbroker who seems to anticipate their every move. Unless Langdon and Neveu can decipher the labyrinthine puzzle in time, the Priory's ancient secret -- and an explosive historical truth -- will be lost forever. THE DA VINCI CODEheralds the arrival of a new breed of lightning-paced, intelligent thriller...utterly unpredictable right up to its stunning conclusion. From the Hardcover edition.
The curriculet is being added to your library
Take note of the writer's description of this attacker. He is an albino and his looks seem especially threatening and sinister. Below is a picture of this man from the film version of The Da Vinci Code. (This annotation contains an image)
The curator Sauniere is desperate to do something in the remaining moments of his life. To what is he referring when he thinks about whom to "pass the torch" to?
Did you know that you can look up any word in the text of the book or the text of the questions and answers? Just click (or press on mobile devices) the word you want to define and hold until the blue text selector pops up. When you release, a define option will appear. Since it's so easy to look up words, make sure you use this feature frequently... Is there a word on this page you need to look up?
So here is everything we know about Robert Langdon so far: He is a professor of religious symbology at Harvard University. He is forty something years old and lives in Boston. He has written many books in his field and speaks publicly about it as well. We should consider him an expert in religious iconology.
What has happened to the curator of the Louvre, Sauniere?
Use the Define feature on the word "cilice." It's important to the story, and it will help characterize Silas. Why do you think he would choose to punish himself in this way?
Because the narrator in this novel is omniscient, we as readers know something Silas and the man on the phone do not. What is it?
Below you can see the magnificence of the Musee du Louvre which is also the scene of the crime. (This annotation contains an image)
What technique has the writer used to end these first few chapters?
Which of the following groups of words most effectively creates the mysterious mood of the Louvre on this night?
Isis is the Egyptian goddess of health, marriage, and wisdom. Horus is her son. Below is a picture of a famous statue of Isis nursing Horus. (This annotation contains an image)
Here is la Grande Galerie. This museum houses the iconic painting The Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci. Certainly from the title we know this famous Italian artist will become an important figure in this novel. (This annotation contains an image)
Based on your understanding, Opus Dei is what type of Catholic organization?
One emerging theme in this book is related to religion and religious faith. Regardless of whether or not one believes in a particular religion, one cannot deny religion's place and influence in the world. Watch the video below on theme. As we continue to read, try to recognize the message about religion in this story. (This annotation contains a video)
Clearly, Vittoria Vetra is what to Robert Langdon?
Below is a picture of this scene from the movie. You can see the pentacle drawn in blood on Sauniere's abdomen. (This annotation contains an image)
According to Langdon what is true of symbols?
This translates to, "The moment of truth." Why does the lieutenant think this as he listens in on the conversation in the Grand Gallery between Langdon and Fache?
Who is coming to the church Saint-Sulpice tonight?
So Sauniere has positioned himself and drawn a circle around himself to depict Leonardo Da Vinci's most famous sketch, The Vitruvian Man. The drawing is based on the architect Vitruvius who believed the human body could be geometrically proportioned. (This annotation contains an image)
What goddess is Langdon referring to?
Fache tells his agents, "I know who killed Jacques Sauniere." Who does he mean?
The Opus Dei is a real religious organization dedicated to strict adherence to Catholicism. It was founded in Spain in 1928 by the Priest Josemaria Escriva. Literally, Opus Dei means "The Work of God." It is true that some of the more devout members still practice the purifying ritual of corporal mortification, or punishing themselves with pain in order to purge their sins. (This annotation contains an image)
What caused the young Silas to be so violent?
Even though the tense plot is the most prominent part of this novel, the writer is skilled and frequently uses figurative language to enhance meaning. Watch the video below for a quick review of some of the most common forms of figurative language. Do you recognize any on this page? (This annotation contains a video)
Use the Fibbonacci sequence to choose the next two numbers 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34,____,_____
Which of the following is not true?
The narrator is now revealing the thoughts of Sophie Neveu. The last chapter we were inside the thoughts of Silas before he enters the Church Saint-Sulpice. This is what an omniscient narrator can do, and it is exciting for us as readers because the story unfolds from many different characters. (This annotation contains an image)
To heighten the feeling of tension for Sophie, the writer uses personification in this sentence. Which word personifies the lights?
Make a prediction about what has happened. Did Langdon jump from the window onto a moving car?
Below is a picture of the inside of the church where Silas is visiting at this late hour. Sisiter Sandrine has no idea that Silas is really there to look for something that's been hidden for centuries. (This annotation contains an image)
What is responsible for creating the suspense we feel now as readers?
Tarot cards have many different characters, symbols, and meanings. Some fortune tellers use tarot cards to perform psychic readings. (This annotation contains an image)
PHI is often called the "Divine Proportion" or the "Golden Ratio." It does occur repeatedly in nature. (This annotation contains an image)
Take a close look now at Da Vinci's famous painting of The Last Supper. Do you see any symbols? (This annotation contains an image)
The genre of this novel can best be described as what?
Before you look again at the painting, use the Define feature on the art term "sfumato." Can you see this in the woman's face? (This annotation contains an image)
Why do you think the writer returns now to the action with Silas?
Sophie and her grandfather both love ________________.
According to the novel, the Priory of Sion is a fraternal organization. These are the "brothers" Silas refers to. The official symbol of this society is below. (This annotation contains an image)
Do you think that years ago Sophie caught her grandfather in the midst of some pagan ritual and mistakenly believed he was worshiping the devil?
What can we infer at this point?
Clearly, the artist Leonardo da Vinci is an important figure in this novel. Watch the short biography of this famous Renaissance man. (This annotation contains a video)
The theory Langdon presents about the mystery behind Mona Lisa's smile is that she is androgynous, representing both the male and female. According to Langdon, she is based on which two mythological deities?
Do you believe we live in a "man's" world? Is there real balance between the power of men and the power of women? This may be another important theme in this novel.
Below is the painting Sophie is now examining. (This annotation contains an image)
What anagram is Sophie referring to here?
What type of event is Sophie witnessing?
The square cross Langdon is referring to looks like the one below. (This annotation contains an image)
Below is a picture of the Castel Gandolfo. (This annotation contains an image)
How does the writer create suspense in this scene?
The painting "The Garden of Earthly Delights" is a three-paneled scene by Bosch. Art historians believe the painting should be interpreted from left to right. The far left panel is God with Adam and Eve. The center panel is worldly temptations, and the right panel represents the hell that awaits those who do not resist the evils of the world. (This annotation contains an image)
In the plot's simplest sense, the Priory of Sion wants to preserve the ____________ and the Catholic Church wants to _______________ it.
Many people believe the Holy Grail is the cup Jesus Christ drank from during the Last Supper. It also has a prominent place in the King Arthur legends. (This annotation contains an image)
Langdon tells Sophie in this chapter that the Holy Grail is really
The Knights Templar were considered the soldiers of Christ, fighting in the Crusades during the Middle Ages. Their robes were quite distinctive. Notice the square cross as their emblem. (This annotation contains an image)
All of these men are supposedly dedicated to God and yet they are dealing in seemingly criminal behaviors. This underlies the importance of something to our world which is also a pervasive theme in this novel. What is it?
What two details presented on this page will probably become more obstacles for Sopie and Langdon?
Do you have a prediction about the account number?
Which genre descriptor does not fit with this novel?
Did you predict this?
Which of the following is a symbol not used in this novel so far?
Besides solving the mystery of Sauniere's clues, another element that makes this story so suspenseful is which of the following?
This is a cryptex. The Greek root "crypto" means secret or hidden. This is where we get the adjective cryptic. Sophie Neveu is a cryptographer--a specialist with secret codes. (This annotation contains an image)
How does the cryptex protect a secret message?
Do you remember how Silas was looking for the keystone in the Church Saint- Sulpice beneath the Rose line that ran along the floor?
Who has Sauniere chosen as the next senechaux, or keeper of the secret?
What do we know that Aringarosa does not know?
Hyperbole is exaggeration for the purpose of making a point. Which of the following sentences from this page is not an example of hyperbole?
This is an allusion to the Shakespearean tragedy Julius Caesar. As Caesar is being stabbed to death, he recognizes his good friend Brutus among the assassins and he asks him, "You too, Brutus?" The line has become a signal of betrayal. When the television show aired with Langdon supporting this theory about the Holy Grail, it was seen as a betrayal by his friends in the church. This is more evidence that whatever the secret is about the Holy Grail, it is extremely threatening to the church.
Sir Leigh Teabing is passionate about
Vernet's actions seem to go beyond just his alleged "loyalty" to Sauniere. What do you think his real motives are?
In Latin, "quid pro quo" means "something for something." In other words, it is an exchange. So here, Teabing will tell Sophie and Langdon about the Holy Grail in exchange for any new information they may have.
This remark reveals that Teabing is probably very much like Sophie's grandfather, Sauniere. Which of the following details from the description of Teabing's chateau also gives that away?
Keep in mind that although this novel does contain many factual references, it is a work of fiction. Because of that, the writer certainly has dramatic license to present anything he wants as factual. After reading this novel you may want to research the many sites that "debunk" some of the major myths this fictional story proposes.
This is a good time to learn a bit more about the famous fresco by Da Vinci, The Last Supper. Below is an interesting video from Khan Academy on this painting. It is not necessary to watch the entire seven minute video in order to learn more about the painting. (This annotation contains a video)
According to this chapter, which Christian symbols are "borrowed" from pagan worship?
We can infer that Silas is where?
Again, look at the painting to see the figure Teabing is describing. (This annotation contains an image)
According to this novel, which of the following is the biggest hidden secret in Christianity?
Based on the description, who is on the phone with the bishop?
What is being implied here?
Do you see this painting in the background? (This annotation contains an image)
This paragraph helps develop one of the themes in this novel: the importance of religion in our world. What does Teabing claim the church fears?
Could this date be the subject of the secretive meeting the Bishop Aringarosa attended five months ago at the Castel Gandolfo?
Again, something important is being implied here. What is it?
Langdon must believe that the five- lettered password is written beneath the rose on the lid of the box.
What literary device is used here to make Teabing's actions seem heroic?
As with many of the chapters in this novel, this one ends playing upon which element of the plot?
To further add suspense, the writer uses which of the following literary devices here?
This is why Sauniere wanted to see Robert Langdon and why he wrote the "P.S. Find Robert Langdon."
Teabing knows that to reveal the secret he believes the Holy Grail holds would destroy the very foundation of Christianity as we know it. Worldwide, Christianity has a huge following. Briefly skim the ten given purposes of religion in society in the article below. Think about what a loss of Christian faith may do to the world. (This annotation contains a link)
It seems that Teabing underestimates Sophie's intelligence. Remember, the power of women is an important theme in this novel.
It is true that Bill Gates purchased one of Da Vinci's notebooks. Look at the writing in the picture below. (This annotation contains an image)
This last paragraph leads a critical reader to believe what?
The Atbash Cipher substitutes the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet with the last; the second letter with the second to last, and so on, reversing the order. (This annotation contains an image)
What was probably the most troubling aspect of what Sophie witnessed that night?
How are Aringarosa and Silas different from typical antagonists in fiction?
The Knights of Templar were accused of worshiping the idol or deity Baphomet. (This annotation contains an image)
One of the main elements of this novel is the quest to find the Holy Grail. The suspense never seems to let up. How much time has passed since the action of this story began?
This is similar to what the photo shows. (This annotation contains an image)
What is the list on the previous page of?
Of course, "sales meeting" is a play on words here. What Teabing plans to do is go and bribe the pilot with money to do something irregular or illegal in order to delay a confrontation with the authorities.
How do Langdon and Sophie narrowly escape this time?
The Millennium Eye is in London, right on the banks of the Thames River. (This annotation contains an image)
Which of the following is not an important purpose of religion?
Below is a picture of The Temple Church. The original shape of the church was circular, suggesting the shape of the sun, a pagan symbol. (This annotation contains an image)
Here are some of the tombs being described. (This annotation contains an image)
Why is this thought of Remy's important?
What poetic structure does the poem represent?
How is Remy's motive to acquire the Holy Grail different from all the others?
Do you think Fache is the Teacher?
Who is the most logical character we can assume has been eavesdropping with this equipment?
Could three of these men be the other three brothers of the Priory of Sion who were murdered?
One common element of mystery and suspense is when a character is not who he/she seems to be. Of the characters listed, which one has played that role in this story?
According to the theory believed by the Priory of Sion about Jesus and Mary Magdalene, the pair had a daughter named ____________.
Does this sentence cause you to wonder a bit?
Below are the four suits of Tarot cards. (This annotation contains an image)
Sauniere has left many "double-entendres," or clues with two meanings for Langdon and Sophie to solve. Which of the following is another one of these?
As readers, why might we feel sympathy for Silas?
Langdon and Sophie are looking in Westminister Abbey for Sir Isaac Newton's tomb. (This annotation contains an image)
Many famous British poets and writers are buried in Westminster Abbey. (This annotation contains an image)
This sentence leads the reader to believe that the Teacher may be who?
Below is the tomb of Sir Isaac Newton. (This annotation contains an image)
Finally we know the identity of the Teacher. Throughout the novel the writer has drawn our suspicions toward other characters. This is a common technique in mystery and suspense. It is a type of "red herring" where the writer has intentionally mislead the reader to make a false conclusion.
What is the "ancient vow"?
Why is using a French accent so unlikely for Teabing?
Do you recall when we found out this seemingly irrelevant detail about Remy earlier in the novel? And remember when Remy first sipped the cognac, it tasted salty? We assumed it was poison, but it was merely powder left over from a can of peanuts. Very clever......
What literary device is being used here?
What is the reason the bishop and Silas involved themselves in this quest?
What is Sir Isaac Newton famous for? Let us see if we can think of the answer. Watch the video biography below of Sir Isaac Newton. (This annotation contains a video)
Think about what Sir Isaac Newton is famous for and then reread this paragraph carefully. What might be a logical five word clue that would open the cryptex?
What will happen if the cryptex hits the floor?
Think about it. An apple is orb shaped. It is rosy and it contains seeds. It is a symbol of Newton's most famous discovery: gravity.
This is an allusion to the gigantic Trojan horse the Greeks left as a gift before they left Troy. The Trojans, thinking the Greeks had left and that they were finally victorious, rolled the huge wooden structure into their gates. That night, hundreds of Greek soldiers who were hiding inside came out and overtook the city. (This annotation contains an image)
What has happened to Silas?
Here is a picture of the Rosslyn Chapel which is in Edinburgh, Scotland. (This annotation contains an image)
Here are just a few of the symbols carved in stone inside Rosslyn Chapel. (This annotation contains an image)
Do you think this boy with strawberry blond hair is Sophie's brother?
What did Sauniere and his wife do to protect Sophie and their family?
This is an important line. We find out now that the alleged truth of what the Holy Grail represents was never a plan to be revealed because it would destroy the faith of millions. In many ways, faith is the "mystery and wonderment that serves our soul." This means that faith and religion are necessary components for a healthy society.
What does this imply about Sophie and Langdon?
This is where Langdon is now standing. (This annotation contains an image)
Which words in this sentence imply that the Holy Grail may lie below this small pyramid.