Character Analysis of Robert Langdon Essay
While doing a promotion of his book in Europe, Robert Langdon finds himself in an incomprehensible situation. He is suddenly woken up in the middle of the night by the police. At first, Langdon asks several questions pertaining to uncertainty and certainty of the situation. A thought tells him that probably another professor has visited him to “pick a fight” (Brown 22) about his highly controversial book. Certainty and uncertainty engulf Langdon’s awareness about the current situation. For instance, he is certain that “his books on religious paintings and cult symbology had made him a reluctant celebrity in the art world” (Brown 22). An element of self awareness is also evident through his grey hair which he thought accentuated his appeal for books. Apparently, Langdon had an explicit awareness about his career. Nevertheless, the present circumstances escaped his certainty. Indeed, Langdon demonstrates his low certainty about the situation he is currently in by the manner in which he “slid off the bed” (Brown 23) and hesitating while the strangers looked at him carefully. There is no doubt Langdon is the middle of controversy so difficult to get out. The situation presents an opportunity for Langdon to use his vast experience to unravel the mystery and salvage himself from the hook. There is nothing easy about this process. Nevertheless, Langdon manages to evolve as a hero by unraveling the intrigues surrounding the mysterious murder of Sauniere on which he is the main suspect. Langdon undergoes a remarkable transformation by coming out of his nature as a reluctant observer into a hero who takes the initiative to piece together the trail left in the murder of Sauniere.
At the onset, Langdon depicts a sense of unawareness about his present situation. Langdon controversially finds himself the main suspect in the mysterious murder of Sauniere whom he plans to meet during his visit of France. However, Langdon’s background as a lecturer of symbology at Harvard is suddenly called upon to utilize his vast experience to find out the actual cause of death. “As someone who had spent his life exploring the hidden interconnectivity of disparate emblems and ideologies, Langdon viewed the world as a web of profoundly intertwined histories and events. The connections may be invisible, he often preached to his symbology classes at Harvard, but they are always there, buried just beneath the surface” (Brown 30). The role of Langdon in unmasking the mystery surrounding the death of Sauniere is clearly demonstrated here. Indeed, Langdon is expected to bring to the fore the numerous dark secrets stashed throughout the plot. The death of Saunière leaves behind a trail of puzzles and secrets on his body and graphic examples of codes. Apparently, Langdon is already familiar with some of the codes. In any case, he is an academic who has spent most of his life researching and writing about works of art. The attention of Langdon is eventually cast on the codes he is unfamiliar with.
The circumstances under which Langdon finds himself pursuing the truth are purely brought by fate. Langdon realizes the precarious situation in which he is in and decides to save his soul. To do this, he needs to muster all his experience as “a renowned Harvard symbologist” (Brown 22) and interpret the situation facing him. Langdon is a very smart and enlightened character on matters to do with art. In fact, Langdon is “summoned to the Louvre Museum to examine a series of cryptic symbols relating to Da Vinci’s artwork. In decrypting the code, he uncovers the key to one of the greatest mysteries of all time . . . and he becomes a hunted man” (Brown 45). It is clear that he was highly knowledgeable and experienced about art codes. The murder of Saunière opens the door for Langdon to put his vast knowledge into practice. Unknown to Langdon, Inspector Fache’s had intentions of arresting him for the murder of Sauniere as the police had found Langdon’s name in Sauniere`s daily planner. This had convinced the police to suspect that Langdon had a hand in the murder. Although Fache’s aim was to arrest him at the scene of the crime and extract a confession from him, they were never successful. Inspector Sophie Neveu is Sauniere’s estranged granddaughter. She is well aware that Langdon is innocent and decides to help him escape. Indeed, she decides to give some important clues to Langdon by telling him that he has “A message from The States?” (Brown 80) but she actually gives Langdon a message to warn him. Inspector Sophie sympathizes with Langdon. Initially, Lang don does not realize that Sophie wants to help him. However, on realizing this, he resolves to “do exactly as Sophie advised” (Brown 98). Langdon is witty enough to collaborate with Sophie who provides him with important leads on unraveling the mysterious death of her grandfather.
Initially, Langdon is presented as a very passive academic. On the contrary, he is a very resourceful person on matters to do with the mysterious codes associated with the death of Sauniere. Langdon pieces together the links to the murder and eventually provides a true account. Although fate leads Langdon into discovering the cause of Sauniere’s death, it cannot drive a character alone. As an accomplished academic, Langdon specializes in symbolism and historical art and therefore possesses a deep understanding of secret societies. He is capable, likable, and good-hearted and honest, as is Sophie. The process of unmasking the puzzle on the murder of Sauniere is therefore a joint mission between Langdon and Sophie. Indeed, the two fall in love as evidenced by Sophie’s letter telling Langdon, “I would love nothing more than to meet you in Florence, Robert” (Brown 449). Sophie delivers this statement to illustrate the final resolution of the book where Langdon and Sophie kiss and seem to be in love.
Although Langdon demonstrates a passive character, he is honest, truthful and speaks out his mind. Langdon is also a very credible and interesting. He seems to have an in-depth understanding on general matters. No wonder, he says to Sophie, “Every faith in the world is based on fabrication. That is the definition of faith—acceptance of that which we imagine to be true, that which we cannot prove” (Brown 369). Although Langdon is non-religious, he freely expresses his thoughts and opinions about religion. It is no wonder he says that, “Every religion describes God through metaphor, allegory, and exaggeration… Those who truly understand their faiths understand the stories are metaphorical” (Brown 369-370). He therefore reassures Sophie on matters of faith while still upholding his perspective about religion.
In analyzing Langdon’s character traits, the interconnection between him and other characters in the novel is of paramount importance. Literature studies indicate that a protagonist with a passive behavior as in the case of Langdon does not always portray control of the matter. However, this becomes possible when fate conspires with other characters to bring out the real traits of the protagonist. The blossoming of Langdon into the hero he finally becomes has been facilitated through his interaction with other characters especially Sophie. Nevertheless, there are numerous instances when he single-handedly takes the charge of the situation. He drastically shifts his traits to take on different personality unlike him. Indeed, his initial ordinary character grows into a commandeering personality. Langdon also becomes a hero by discovering the place Sauniere kept the watch. He wonders, “What a better place for Saunière to keep watch? (Brown 454). As an accomplished academic, he dexterously puts the fragments of the Grail riddle together to decipher the meaning. Langdon also possesses the power to interpret the significance of selecting the correct moral routes.
Langdon’s character grows from a frail looking and passive person into a hero capable of taking control of the mysterious murder of Sauniere. Langdon demonstrates his unparalleled academic excellence and exceptional talent in the world of art. Although there are myriad instances of doubt throughout the novel, Langdon brings out an element of reassurance. He becomes a hero by taking charge of the situation that fate throws him into and he does not disappoint. His natural capabilities are utilized to the maximum when he easily pieces together the symbols and codes surrounding the mysterious death of Sauniere. His honest character wins him support from other people such as Sophie who greatly helps him in uncovering the truth. In a nutshell, Langdon undergoes a remarkable transformation by coming out of his nature as a reluctant observer into a hero who takes the initiative to piece together the trail left in the murder of Sauniere.
Work Cited
Brown, Dan. The Da Vinci Code. New York. Anchor Books. 2003. Print.

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