Umberto Eco has an interesting and fascinating style of writing ashe, in great detail, tells of a series of crimes and unbelievablemurders in a wealthy Italian abbey in the year1327. A monk, Williamof Baskerville, and his assistant, Adso, are assigned the challenge ofdecoding the numerous secret symbols to unravel the mysteries.They will have to explore the unusual labyrinth of a library to solvethe crimes. The two monks have a lot of logic, wit, curiosity, andintelligence and find themselves up against a clever enemy, amurderer with all the appearance of the Antichrist. The original reason for William?s being asked to come was toinvestigate the death of Adelmo, a young monk, who hadapparently committed suicide. The abbot had heard of William?sgreat knowledge and invited him to come and try to figure out thereason if or how this young monk had been killed. The abbotinstructed him to bring a novice with him because the abbey had noone extra to spare. William had previously met a young monknamed Adso during his travels and wanted him to come along sothat he could later learn from William. The two traveled to the abbey, high on top of a mountain.When they arrived, the abbot showed his appreciation by preparinga large dinner in their honor. They were then informed of the detailsof the death of Adelmo. His body had been found at the bottom ofa cliff on the side of the mountain. It was assumed that he hadcommitted suicide, but they had no way of proving this hypothesis.If he had jumped, the only possible window would be from thelibrary. This would be nearly impossible because entry to the librarywas forbidden to everyone except the librarian, and the assistantlibrarian; not even the abbot was allowed in this place. This explainswhy William was asked to come and investigate the death. If hedidn?t jump, who killed him and why? Another variable added to thiswhole problem was that someone had brought up the fact that thesigns of the Antichrist were possibly being acted out. The Book of theApostle said at the first sound of the trumpet came the hail, andAdelmo?s body was found in the snow after a hailstorm; which waslater found out from the abbot. Later that day, William and Adsohad a brief encounter with Severinus, the herbalist. They asked himmany questions about the abbey and what kinds of herbs he grew.They were trying to find out what, if any, herbs Adelmo may havegotten his hands on in order to kill himself. The only herbs thatSeverinus knew about that had that kind of power and that he hadin his infirmary were still in their respective cases that had never beenopened. After discussing this briefly, they asked Severinus to givethem a tour of the Aedificium. Severinus took them up onto the second floor of the Aedificium,the Scriptorium. There they meet many copyists, scholars, rubricators,and the head librarian. They were also introduced to an old, blindmonk named Jorge. They talked to Malachi, the librarian, about thebooks in the library. They had a very detailed talk with all of thepeople in the Scriptorium on the topic of laughter, which brings outthe worst in some present, Jorge especially. He mentions that theAntichrist is on his way to the world because certain signs had beenlurking around the abbey. He says, ? He is coming! …….Do notsquander the last seven days!? At supper they were invited to the abbot?s table to eatwith Jorge; Alinardo, another older monk believed to have gonemad; the abbot; Malachi, the librarian; and Berengar, the assistantlibrarian. After dinner they went back into the church for Compline,the service before bed. They noted that Malachi had come in froma different door than all the rest of the monks. They then concludedthat there must be an alternate entrance( an ossarium ) somewherethat he passed through the Aedificium to get out of the library. The next day they discovered something very gruesome. Theywere in the opening services when they noticed that Venantius wasmissing. During the service, a few swineherds came rushing in, whichwas very unusual, and went straight to the abbot. He rushed outsideas the swineherds told all the other monks what had happened.They had seen legs sticking out of a barrel of pig blood and assumedit was a monk because of the sandals on the feet. When the monksheard this, they all rushed out to the courtyard to see for themselves.When they got there, the abbot was having two of the servants pullthe corpse out of the barrel. The blood had distorted the face butnot like it would have if the person had drowned in the pig?s blood.This was just as the Book of the Apostle said that at the secondtrumpet, a third of the waters would turn to blood. The abbot instructed that the corpse of Venantius should betaken to the infirmary to be made ready for burial. William and Adsowere instructed to go along to look at the body to see what mayhave killed him, if it had not been his being drowned in the blood.They then found that a few of the fingers on the right hand wereblackened at the tip and that his tongue was also black. Severinus,the herbalist, told them that there had been no bruises and no bumpon the head. They then again asked what kind of poisons Severinuskept in the infirmary. Severinus hesitated and quickly changed thesubject. Later on in the day, the abbot took the two aside and askedthem what they had found out about the two deaths. William toldhim their information about the death of Adelmo and the death ofVenantius. They had still found no connection between the twodeaths. The abbot told them about his concern for the life of theabbey, and the accusation of heresy among some of the monks inhigher positions. He also tells them that they will be having visitorslater on in the week Who would be debating on the abbeygrounds and William was invited to join them. When they left the abbot, they ran into old Alinardo. He toldthem some very important facts about the abbey and the library.They were instructed never to enter the library, but Alinardo let themin on a secret without knowing it. He told them of an alternateentrance into the library after the doors to the Aedificium are locked.If you enter the church, which is never locked, and go through theossarium ( as William had thought ), there was a door to the stepsleading to the Scriptorium, which also led to the library. He also toldthem that the library was a labyrinth. During the hour of Compline, the two entered the Scriptorium.They went there to look through Venantius? desk for any clues of whyhe would have been killed. They found what seemed to be animportant document, but William?s eye glasses had been stolen andhe was not much help. The document they found was written in aninvisible ink and could only be seen with the addition of heat. Whenthey could read the words, they found that the document was in acoded script. William took the paper with him so that he could look itover when he had more light. At the beginning of the next day, Berengar is missing. The twomonks looked all day long to find the missing assistant librarian andlater find him in the shower room, drowned in a bathtub. This is just asthe Book of the Apostle said: ? at the third trumpet the waters wouldbe disturbed?. When the herbalist looked over the body, he noticedthat the tongue and fingertips were blackened, the same asVenantius?. Severinus then recalled an unknown poison that he hadreceived as a gift from a man who had traveled to many foreignlands and could not tell him what the poison was made of. He onlyknew that it was a slimy yellowish color and could eventually kill ifconsumed. It had been missing for quite some time by now, butSeverinus figured that it had been broken in a horrible storm that hadruined a lot of his herb and medicine cases. The next day, the visitors arrived at the abbey and had a longdeep discussion on the matter of whether or not Jesus had anyworldly possessions. During this meeting, Severinus came in and toldWilliam about a book that had somehow gotten into the infirmary.William told Severinus to go back to the infirmary and lock himselfinside until he could get there to see the book. Later on someonecomes to the church where the debate is taking place and tellseveryone in the room that Severinus had been murdered. Williamrushed out and went directly to the infirmary to see for himself. It was,in fact, true that Severinus had been murdered. He had been killedfrom being hit in the head by his own armillary sphere, which wasmade out of metals in the shape of suns, moons, and stars. William,Adso, and Benno; the new assistant librarian, carefully examined theroom but could not find the book. They actually did pass by it; but,not knowing what they were looking for, they did not take note ofthe book. The death of Severinus also followed along with the Bookof the Apostle, at the sound of the fourth trumpet, ?the third part ofthe sun will be smitten, and of the moon and the stars, so there willbe almost complete darkness.? They later realized that they had passed over the book. Bennohad laughed mischievously when William looked at the book anddismissed it. Therefore, Benno had known that this particular bookwas the one they were looking for and he did not tell them becausehe had to get this book back to Malachi in the library. The book wasin Arabic and they had not thought that it did not fit in with all ofSeverinus? other Greek and Latin books. They later found out thatthe book was not just a book, but that it was several works in severaldifferent languages. The cellarer, Remigio, was arrested for Severinus? death becausehe was found at the scene of the crime making such a mess of theinfirmary. Bernard Gui, one of the visitors, takes it upon himself to trythe criminal as not just a murderer, but also as a heretic. Remigio islater found guilty of heresy and confessed under pressure formurdering the herbalist, although he did not do it and everyoneknew that. After Remigio?s trial, William advises his friend, Umbertino,that he should leave at once. This way Bernard Gui would not take itupon himself to try other persons accused of heresy, Umbertinobeing one of them. At Compline on this same day, the abbot was to speak butbecause of the happenings of the day, he asked the oldest personin the abbey to preach that evening. Technically Alinardo shouldhave spoken, but because he was considered to have gone mad,the abbot asked Jorge to speak. Ironically, Jorge spoke on the topicof the Antichrist?s believed to be soon coming. In his sermon hediscretely tells the curious monks, that if they continue to violate thelibrary, the abbey would never again regain its peace of previoustimes. He also stated that when the Antichrist is about to arrive orhad arrived, that there would be a ? foreign king rise up in the West.?He stated that this characteristic was showing through the Pope orthe King of France at this point in time. The next day, the visitors left with their prisoner, Remigio, nowgone mad. During this day at the first service, Malachi came in late.He was missed by Jorge who always sat next him. When Malachifinally came in, he looked rather weak. During one of the hymns,when all the monks stood up, Malachi stood but then quicklycollapsed onto the ground. William rushed over to his side andasked Malachi what he had seen, Malachi told him, ? He toldme…truly…It had the power of a thousand scorpions…? WhenMalachi tried to speak again he could not, and died. William thenhad the idea to look at the hands and mouth: they were both blackas night. Later on that day, the abbot asked to see the two monks inhis quarters. He asked what, if anything had been learned from orabout the murders. The two had no reply for him. He then askedthat no more investigation take place because he was ashamed ofWilliam?s inability to solve the mystery before so many had died. Hetold William and Adso to leave the next morning because he did notwant them to travel in the night. This only made William want to findout the mysterious murderer even more than before. During Compline, Jorge was missing but the Abbot instructed thatthe service must be started because he wanted to free his mind ofany question of another death. When Jorge was still missing atdinner, some novices were sent to look for him , and they cameback empty handed. All of the murders happened in accordance with the Book of theApostle: the first in hail, Adelmo; the second in blood, Venantius;the third in water, Berengar; the fourth with the sun, moon and stars,Severinus; and the fifth with the sting of a thousand scorpions,Malachi. The death of Venantius gave the answer to the mystery.The coded message left on his desk in the Scriptorium had the key toopening the finis Africae, the room in the library the could not beeasily entered. There was no door that opened to the room butthere was a large mirror with an inscription in Latin above it that read:Super thronos viginti quantor. The coded message that Venantiusleft said ?the first and seventh of four. Quantor means four in Latin,the first and seventh letters of quantor were the key to entering thefinis Africae. They hurried to the library to try and save one moreperson?s life, they were not sure whose. When they got to theentrance of the Aedificium, they heard a loud banging on the wallinside. They assumed that this was the person who was about to bekilled. They were right. When they arrived in the room where the finis Africae was, theypushed on the q and the r of the word quantor. The mirror slowlycreaked and opened to reveal Jorge sitting at a desk with the bookthat they had seen and overlooked in the infirmary a few daysearlier. Jorge had been waiting for them ever since the rise of thesun that morning. He knew that they would sooner or later figure outthe mystery. Jorge explained to them how he got people mad atothers in order to kill the other person or got them so upset that theywould kill themselves. The book that he held close to himself was anobject of great envy among the monks that knew about it. Adelmohad killed himself because he had been having a relationship withVenantius and found out from Jorge that Venantius had arelationship with Berengar. Venantius died because he was lookingat the book that Jorge, a long while ago, had laced with the missingpoison from the infirmary. There was a group of pages stucktogether and when the person licked his fingers to try and loosen thepages, the poison wold enter the mouth and the hands, causing theblackness on most all of the victims? hands and mouths. When thecellarer found Venantius? body in the kitchen, he disposed of it in thebarrel because he knew that they would accuse him of killingVenantius. Berengar also knew about the book and had access to itbecause he was the assistant librarian. He got to the shower roombefore the poison kicked in. Then he drowned in the water.Severinus then somehow got a hold of the book but the poison didnot kill him, but rather the greed of the librarian killed him. The herbsthat burned in one of the library rooms that induced visions, was agathering of herbs that Severinus gave to the librarian regularly.Malachi knew that Severinus had the book so when he wouldnormally come to get the herbs, he took the book instead, andbecause Severinus was guarding the book until William got there,Malachi had no choice but to kill him. The closest object to the doorwas the armillary, it was just coincidence that it had a relation to theBook of the Apostle. Then finally when Malachi died, Jorge told himthat the poison would have the sting of a thousand scorpions, just tostay with the whole Antichrist theme of the murders. All of thesequential order of the murders and their relation to the Antichristwere purely accidental except the last known death, Malachi. Atthis point the person in the small space below the finis Africae hadstopped making noise. Jorge quickly informed them that the Abbothad figured him out also and that there was another entrance to theroom, from the ossarium. Jorge had blocked it when he camethrough earlier in the day. In order to save the book?s reputation and his own name, Jorgethen decided to eat the pages from the book that contained thepoison. After struggling to save the book from Jorge?s mouth, Williamfinally gave up and at that moment, Jorge began to drool ayellowish, slimy substance, which proved that he was the one whohad stolen the poison from the infirmary. Jorge then snuffed thelamp and proceeded to leave the room, still stuffing paper into hismouth. The two younger monks then heard the door begin to creak,Jorge was sealing them inside the finis Africae! They rushed outbefore the door closed on them. Adso then relit the lamp and theychased after Jorge. When they found him, he knocked the lamponto the floor and in the process, set half the room on fire. He thenthrew the book into the inferno and fell over into the flames. NeitherWilliam or Adso had ever seen the face of the devil before thisinstant, but they were both positive that is what they saw that nightjust before Jorge died. The abbey was awakened by the fire and they helped to try toput the fire out but the paper from the books was constantly feedingthe fire. The fire spread quickly to the other parts of the abbey, but itcould not be put out. The abbey burned for three days and threenights before it was finally under control. The reader is leftoverwhelmed by the powers of greed in destroying men?s lives.
The Name of the Rose