Name of the Rose Analysis Questions

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Eco, Umberto. The Name of the Rose. 1st ed. New York: Harcourt Inc, 1994. 21-502.


1.        The role of St. Benedict influences life in the monastery by setting specific rules that monks should follow.  In Chapter 6 of the St Benedict rules, it portrays the essence of silence, but does not rule out any dire discussion. This rule is applied during Compline which is when the “monk’s meal proceeded in silence, as is customary” (94).  In relation to the Cellarer, chapters 31-32 in the Rule explain that the Cellarer is responsible for important valuables of the abbey. While Salvatore was in the kitchen, the chief cook noticed that he was hiding some chicken scraps and he scolded him saying, “Cellarer, cellarer, you must look after the goods of the abbey, not squander them!”(121). He reminded Salvatore of the rule that he follows. Abbot Abo expresses chapter 56 of the Rule, which directs that the abbot shall take his meals with the guests. He does this on the first day during Compline, “the abbot invited William to his table and said that for this evening, since I was also a new guest, I would enjoy the same privilege” (93). Malachi the Librarian renders chapter 33 of the Rule which forbids the private possession of anything without the leave of the abbot. He explained the process that is conveyed when distributing books from the library, “the monk asked the librarian for the work he wish to consult and the librarian then went to fetch it from the library above, if the request was justified and devout” (74).

2.        Eco sets up the interest concept of “knowing is seeing” during the conversation between William, Adso and the master glazier, Nicholas of Mormimondo. People sometimes do not accept new improvements to life, just because it does not come in accord with what they believe in.  They might know what it may do but do not believe in it. William expresses this idea when he’s describing why he had to restrain himself from using his glasses during trials saying, “I myself, during trials in which someone was suspected of dealings with the Devil, have had to take care not to use these lenses…I myself would have been considered a friend of the accused” (87). It proves how those that were present were not mentally ready to see such an instrument as the glasses he hid. Nicholas’ profession as a master glazier collaborates the metaphor even more since he did not know of the works that could be done with glass to sharpen ones eyesight and that glassmaking is not only for the manufacture of windows. He expresses great interest in the lenses when William spoke of it saying, “I hope you will allow me to examine them one of these days; I would be happy to produce some similar ones,” (86).  Unlike ignorant people that were at the trial with William, Nicholas welcomed the new finding and rejoiced at such a wonder. William gives an excellent metaphor when he replies to Nicholas’ statement on how he feels that he cannot compare to the ancient master glaziers when he says, “ We are dwarfs, but dwarfs who stand on the shoulders of giants, and small though we are, we sometimes manage to see farther in the horizon then they” (86). His response meant that though he might not have been able to compose glass windows as those before him, which does not mean that he can not formulate something equally magnificent to it. Many may understand the concept of “knowing is seeing” but until they truly believe it, they’ll have nothing.

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3.        The discovery of Vanantius’ body in the vat of pig’s blood contains two allusional references. One being a biblical allusion in the Old Testament concerning the symbolism of pig’s blood. In Deuteronomy 14:4 it speaks of the consumption and touch of the meat and blood of a pig as being unclean. A comment towards the blood is made when Vanantius’ body was being removed from the scene saying, “The abbot ordered the corpse to be extracted from the ghastly liquid” (104). Referring to the blood as a “ghastly liquid” supports the biblical allusion. The second allusion is one referring ...

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