Analysis of “Angels and Demons”Ramon San Jose
May. 2, 2005
1.) The main setting takes place in the beautiful, elegant, religious, Vatican City. The story pretty spread out throughout the Vatican in churches, especially St. Peters Basilica, museums, the popes hidden passageways, offices, and a lot of other interesting places. Vatican City is a beautiful city where an abundant amount of faithful living Catholics are located. This city is also where Christianity originated. In the middle of the entire city lies the most famous church in the entire world, St. Peters Basilica. St. Peters is where a lot of important plot factors happen, so it is an important part of the novel. Also, there are an abundant amount of sculptures and artistic works of art across the Vatican, which are important to the story also. The atmosphere of the story is like a wave. The mood rises until it falls, then retreats back, and right as you think the novel is over, the mood rises again and finally drops. The novel is basically a suspense novel because of the different effects of the mood.
2.) The setting was a perfect match for the novel because of the topic choice for the plot. It is about the Illuminati brotherhood, an anti-christian group, coming back by making a big entrance by killing four cardinals and the whole Vatican City. In the old days, the Illuminati had used symbology to recruit new members to prevent them from being caught by the Vatican. They guided them to four churches and called it the Path of Illumination. These four churches were used again as a location to kill the four cardinals. The characters used symbology from sculptures, old written documents from scientists, churches, and old sayings to go from church to church. The setting helps the characters become closer to stopping the cardinals from being massacred by giving artistic works of art for symbology. The novel gains interesting factors from this setting because all the sculptures and churches fit exactly into the characters thoughts and beliefs of where to go next.
3.) The novel Angels and Demons is told in the third person. The narrator gives the reader the feeling of being near the characters or even next to them from details and thoughts. It makes them an invisible ghost following the characters through their journey. Telling the novel in third person gives the advantage of a more flexible storyline. The author can control scene changes to another person or place and give out more details or interesting information. Also, the third person point of view can let the reader invade the characters minds by telling them their thoughts, beliefs, and opinions. For example, if a complex situation has risen, this point of view can give the reader various options on which the situation can be handled. Another advantage of third person is that the author can give details and information that other point of views cannot, causing the reader to have a futuristic thought of what might happen next.
4.) The protagonist of the novel is Robert Langdon. He is an intelligent college professor that teaches symbology. He is the type of person that is bright and smart, but lacks the strength and aggressiveness. Robert loves symbology and is fascinated about the amount of symbols in the world that people see as just something in their daily life. He always loves to learn more about science, religion, symbols, or anything that interests him. In the story, his strengths are that he is a symbology teacher and that he has the intelligent mind to find certain symbols rapidly to move further and further in the Path of Illumination. Another one of his strengths is that he thinks quickly in situations where the necessity to act fast is needed. Like any other story or novel, the intelligent person is always considered weak, scrawny and lacks the ability to fight well or use weapon effectively. Robert is similar to that stereotype except for the fact that he is well built from swimming laps every day.
5.) The Illuminati is a brotherhood that is against Christianity, they are anti-christians and the Vatican thought they were the most dangerous anti-christian group in the world. In order to prevent themselves from being revealed, they created the Path of Illumination to recruit new members. The Path of Illumination is made of all symbols scattered across the Vatican leading to four churches which will finally lead to the church of Illumination, the Illuminati headquarters. Robert mostly used his abilities as a symbology teacher to locate each church and stop the antagonist from killing a cardinal. Finding the antagonist was crucial not because of the life of a cardinal, but because the antagonist knew the location of the antimatter (antimatter is matters opposite, if the antimatter comes in contact with matter it is obliterated). Robert used his symbology to solve what I thought might be unsolvable to other symbologists like him. In some parts, Robert had lady luck on his side and dodged death. Just like regular people such as students and teachers at Moreau Catholic, they sometimes have no other choice but to rely on luck.
6.) The main conflict of the novel is that an Illuminatus stole the antimatter from CERN (Conseil Europeen pour la Recherche Nucleaire) and hid it inside Vatican City. The antimatter is stored in a canister which lies on a console which continually charges the battery powered magnetic field that prevents the antimatter from touching matter. When this canister is taken off the console, the battery can live for twenty-four hours. In the novel, the church had just recently lost their pope and are about to start conclave to elect a new pope. Another conflict is that the Illuminatus will kill four cardinals who are the likely candidates for the next pope. The Illuminati wanted to reveal themselves with a bang, and they decided to reveal themselves by killing the preferiti, the four cardinals that were the best candidates to become the new pope.
7.) The story starts off with Robert Langdon awakening from a dream by a phone call by Maximilian Kohler, the director of CERN. The phone call was concerning the murder of Leonardo Vetra with an ambigram of the word Illuminati charred onto the victims chest. Then Robert flew over to CERN and educated Kohler of the knowledge he knew of about the brotherhood, the Illuminati. Moments after, Leonardo Vetras adopted daughter, Vittoria Vetra arrived wanting to see her father. Kohler told her she couldnt in order for CERN reputation to stay at a high level. Then Kohler and Langdon filled her in with the Illuminati and asked her what they might have stolen from CERN. Vittoria brought them to their underground lab and revealed her and her fathers antimatter creation, the opposite of matter, and demonstrated the power of the antimatter when in contact with any matter. The antimatter had burst into a bright light and obliterated any matter within the blast area. Later, she found that their biggest creation of antimatter that could destroy everything in a mile radius, had been stolen. Then Kohler received a call from the Swiss guard concerning a meeting, but Kohler had an attack from his sickness so Langdon and Vittoria were substitutes for the meeting. They both flew to the Vatican overlooking St. Peters Basilica where conclave, the election of a new pope, was about to start. They arrived in the Swiss guard HQ and ordered the commander of the Swiss Guard, Commander Olvett, that they see the camerlengo since they had not started searching for the antimatter and thought the antimatter was a kind of hoax, but ended up in Olvettis office. In his office, Vittoria had located the phone and called the camerlengo via speed dial and informed him of the conflict. Then, they were escorted to the camerlengos office by an angered Olivetti. In this office, the camerlengo receives a call from an Illuminatus telling them that Vatican City will be destroyed at midnight, and that he will kill the preferiti in churches, one every hour starting at eight oclock. Then he hung up. As Langdon processed the information the caller had told them, he figured out a way they could save the cardinals, by taking the Path of Illumination. Four churches lie on the Path of Illumination called the altars of science, four cardinals, four churches. A tiny conflict occurred, in order for them to find the altars of science they had to find the starting point of the Path of Illumination. Then, they went to the Secret Vatican Archives where files and documents of the creator of the Path of Illumination lied. They entered Galileos vault and searched for a book called Diagramma. When they found the book they encountered a poem in english. From Santis earthly tomb with demons hole, Cross Rome the mystic elements unfold. The path of light is laid, the sacred test, Let angels guide you on your lofty quest. They were off to Santis tomb in the Church of Santa Maria del Popolo. When they arrived at the church, they ent underground where the tomb was located. Once they found it they discovered a crypt with a body standing at the bottom. Langdon willingly climbed in, but saw not a standing body but half buried body with an ambigram of the word earth seared in his chest. He had suffocated from soil stuffed in his mouth. Then as he saw the sculpture Habakkuk and the Angel where an angel is pointing east, he remembered the last line of the poem and found how to locate the next church. There was a connection with the sculptures of the famous Bernini with the Path of Illumination. Habakkuk and the Angel was a Bernini sculpture and St. Peters Square near the next altar of science, the Basilica, was designed by Bernini. As they arrived at the next location, Langdon immediately found the next cardinal. He was at the top of the stairs of the Basilica, but had fallen and rolled down the stairs. They found him with punctured lungs and with the ambigram of the word air seared into his chest. Langdon couldnt locate the next church so he was off to the Secret Vatican Archives. He went inside the Bernini vault and found a ledger of St. Teresa, which kept repeating the word fire. As he read on, it said where the sculpture was now located, in Santa Maria della Vittoria. Back at the Basilica, the camerlengo, Vittoria and a couple of Swiss guards went into the grottoes where the arrived at the former popes tomb. They removed the stone slab covering the pope, and found his tongue blackened, he had been poisoned. As they arrived at Santa Maria della Vittoria they had found a gigantic bon fire in the middle of the church with the cardinal hanging above it with the ambigram of the word fire engraved in his chest. Immediately Langdon went to help the cardinal, but as he was trying to get the cardinal down, Vittoria and Olvetti disappered and the Illuminatus came in and tried to kill Langdon. Somehow Langdon seemed to escape with his life, but with a dead Olvetti and without the women he had traveled with in his unbelievable journey. Then he had gotten a map and found that the churches made a cross. He then found the next altar of science which contained The Fountain of the Four Rivers inside the piazza next to the church, a tribute to water, the next marker. At the fountain he found the last cardinal alive underwater, but right as he got there the Illuminatus came and engaged Langdon in a fight. As they were fighting the cardinal became unconscious and suffocated. Langdon somehow escaped that fight with the Illuminatus also, but instead with his own skill of holding his breath and playing dead. After the Illuminatus left, Langdon found another angel and went towards the way it was pointing, towards the Castle of the Angels, the Illuminati Lair. As Langdon passed through tunnels and secret passageways in the Illuminati Lair, he found the Illuminatus. They had engaged in a brutal fight, but Langdon had a slight advantage because of the help of Vittoria. With there teamwork they pushed the Illuminatus out of the window. When they were fighting the Illuminatus mentioned the Illuminati leader coming to use the final brand on the camerlengo. Then as they look outside the window Kohler arrives in a helicopter and wheels in the camerlengos office with no supervision. Langdon and Vittoria arrive at the camerlengos office half an hour after the meeting had begun. Lieutenant Chartrand kicks the door down and they charge in with the camerlengo screaming with an ambigram with the words earth, air, fire, water engraved in his chest. Then Chartrand shot Kohler and went to the Camerlengo. But Kohler wasnt dead yet and gave a pen camera to Langdon, who quickly hid it to conceal it from Chartrand. They walked outside to St. Peters Piazza to a waiting crowd of catholics. The camerlengo received a message from God and ran back inside into St. Peters tomb where the antimatter lies. Running back with the antimatter in hand he runs into a helicopter. Langdon jumps in with him. Using his flying skills the camerlengo flew as high as he could towards the heavens. Using the only parachute he jumped out leaving Langdon behind stranded with the antimatter waiting to blow up. The camerlengo was found atop the roof of the Basilica. He was brought down and the church attended to his medical needs. Meanwhile, Langdon was found in the Tiber River and brought to the hospital. He leave the hospital immediately after he awakes and travels to the St. Peters Basilica to expose the camerlengo for being a fraud by the pen camera Kohler gave him. Kohler wasnt the leader of the Illuminatus, it was the camerlengo all along who caused this whole commotion.
8.) One of the themes that was noticeable to me after I read the novel is that a person should never give up or else they will fail. If a person never tries they will not succeed in life. This theme jumped out at me when I realized that if Robert Langdon or any significant character in the story even lost a little bit of concentration then Vatican City would have been obliterated. If Langdon even had the sense of giving up his determination of finding the cardinal would have not been at top notch. Everybody was in a state of a fierce determination to accomplish what the wanted to do. If things didnt happen the way they did, the camerlengo wouldnt have had enough time to fly up the helicopter to rid the Vatican of the antimatter that haunted it.
9.) I think this theme is valid in life because it can be incorporated in a lot of real like situations. This theme is a necessity in life and someone will not be able to live a good life without it. For example, students at Moreau Catholic try their hardest to pass their classes. If they didnt even try where wold they be in life? They would travel no where. They would be low class citizens who are dumb and stupid. Another example is doctor. If I a doctors never tried, a lot of people would be dead. Also, medical research wouldnt progress anywhere either because of the lack of check ups for the sick or retarded. This theme can be placed in any given situation in life which is why it is important factor in life.
10.) An important literary aspect of the story is suspense. Suspense is a typical literary aspect Dan Brown uses because of its effects on the reader. Readers love great books with excitement, action, and scenes that will leave you transfixes about how amazing it was. Suspense is what fuels the exciting parts of books. Suspense gives the reader a adrenaline rush. For example, when Langdon and Vittoria went to Santa Maria del Popolo and arrived at Santis tomb underground. They looked down the crypt, and saw a body standing. This makes the reader want to know who the body is and whether hes dead or not. If its dead how did he die? It creates many questions and futuristic thinking. When Langdon climbs down the chamber to see the body it creates more and more suspense as he becomes closer and closer to the body because the reader is eager to know what happens. Another example, is when Langdon and Vittoria arrive at the Santa Maria della Vittoria. They enter seeing a huge fire with the cardinal hanging from above. Vittoria gets kidnaped and Olvetta dies. Now Langdon is trapped inside with the Illuminatus, who has a gun, and he starts crawling around the pues trying to escape. This action creates suspense because the reader wants to know what will happen. As the scene progresses more suspense is developed in the reader because of the desire to know what will happen next.
11.) A) The title Angels and Demons basically relates to the church as angels and the Illuminati as demons. The church is considered the angels part of the title because of Christianity and the Illuminati are the demons part of the title because of the fact that they were anti-christians. It is a perfect title for the book because it is the shortest way to describe the conflict between the rivaling church and Illuminati. C) The part of the story which I think I will probably remember next year are the parts where the cardinals are branded with the Illuminati brands. Dan Brown describes it so vividly and even shows a picture of what it looks like. The brands being ambigrams is what fascinated me the most because of the fact that you can still read it when you turn you book upside down.