The Da Vinci Code: Theme Analysis

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The dominant theme of The Da Vinci Code, clearly, is the urgent necessity of reclaiming a holistic spirituality for humankind. Langdon’s reflections in Chapter 28 perhaps state this theme most clearly:  “Mother Earth had become a man’s world, and the gods of destruction and war were taking their toll. The male ego had spent two millennia running unchecked by its female counterpart (Ch. 28, p. 135). In the world of The Da Vinci Code, a restoration—literally, a re-union—of the male and female principles in the human psyche will lead to a renewal of human society—human “intercourse,” in all the senses of that word.
Another theme that runs throughout the novel, uniting characters who at first seem to have little in common, is the theme of the quest. Some quests are noble; others are not. Some questers are worthy of finding what they seek; others are not. Teabing, Bezu Fache, Collet, Rèmy, Bishop Aringarosa—all these individuals are motivated by ultimately selfish ends—sometimes masked in the ostensibly noble aims of piety or service to the truth; and granting the caveat that a few of these characters transcend such petty motivation by the end of the novel. But Langdon and Sophie remain committed, throughout, to a quest for the truth for the truth’s own sake. They believe, as the Bible states, that the truth will set people free (see John 8:32—in its scriptural context, a statement Jesus makes about himself, and therefore thematically appropriate to Brown’s novel, as well).
More specifically, of course, the novel is thematically a quest for the Holy Grail. The Grail in Brown’s book humanity’s continuing, divinely inspired quest for wholeness. As Marie explains to Langdon near the novel’s close, “It is the mystery and wonderment that serve our souls, not the Grail itself” (p. 479). As Teabing says at one point, humanity’s “Quest for the Holy Grail is literally the quest to kneel before the bones of Mary Magdalene. A journey to pray at the feet of the outcast one, the lost sacred feminine” (p. 277)—in other words, to restore that element of human spirituality and psychology that has been so wrongly rejected. That quest needs its “modern troubadors” like Langdon to keep the dream of such wholeness alive. This theme in the novel seeks to inspire readers to take up that calling, as well.

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