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Knowledge in The Name Of The Rose

Uploaded by waca1234 on Sep 25, 2004

Knowledge was one of the most powerful tools of the middle ages. It was highly valued by many kings and members of nobility, but the greatest procurer of knowledge through the middle ages was undoubtedly the church. Their motive for the capturing of wisdom was not for their own enrichment, but predominantly self-preservation. If the general public were to get hold of such a wealth of philosophical and scientific works that were withheld in the monastic libraries then they would almost certainly begin to formulate their own religious ideas, therefore releasing the societal stranglehold the church held so tightly at that time. To survive the church had to keep the knowledge from the masses, and this is something that Umberto Eco has incorporated with finesse into his novel The Name of the Rose. Intertextuality, postmodernism, allusions and an array of interesting characters help to explain the state of education and the availability of knowledge in the middle ages.

The labyrinth is one of the most important aspects to the portrayal of knowledge in The Name of the Rose. Its design and purpose are a brilliant metaphor to the churches desire to keep knowledge from the poor and powerless. The story of the labyrinth goes right back to a Greek myth, which tells of a beast with the head of a bovine and the body of a man, who was conceived of a woman and a snow white bull. It was confined to a labyrinth from which there was no escape without assistance. The concept that Eco uses in The Name of the Rose is very similar, except instead of guarding the Minotaur, Eco’s labyrinth guard’s books, the knowledge that could be the destruction of the church’s vice-like grip upon society. The minotaur wanted seven young maidens and seven youths per year to quench it’s appetite, and one year the Greek hero Theseus became sick of the killing and offered himself as a sacrifice to the bull, with the intention of killing it. He went in with a ball of string and a sword, the ball of string he used to trace his path back to the start when he had killed the Minotaur. There are distinct parallels between William, and the hero Theseus. William entered the library with the intention of getting at the contents that...

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Uploaded by:   waca1234

Date:   09/25/2004

Category:   Literature

Length:   10 pages (2,171 words)

Views:   1898

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