The Name of the Rose Essay
May 13, 2010
The Name of the Rose: Novel vs. Movie
Often times when a novel becomes a movie, critics judge the movie on a more difficult scale than they would if the movie did not have a book to be compared too. When a situation like this occurs, the audience tends to lean one way or the other, towards the novel or towards the movie. From my experiences, I have liked the books either more or just equally as much as the movie, but never the movie more than the book. Differences from the movie to the book can make a huge difference in a person’s outlook toward it; if the plot has drastic changes then the movie is rarely better than the book. Set in 1327, The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco will grab your attention from the first sentence and keep you entertained throughout the novel. The movie, which is introduced as a “palimpsest” of Umberto Eco’s novel has many drawbacks from making it as spectacular as the novel itself.
The Name of the Rose has two main characters, William of Baskerville and Adso of Melk. Adso is the first character to be introduced, but it is Adso in the future recalling the events of William and his six days spent at the Abbey. William and Adso are brought to the Abbey to participate in a debate with a papal legation over the poverty of Christ as well as the status of the Franciscan order. However, upon their arrival, Adelmo, a young illustrator of the manuscripts, had been murdered and they are asked to help investigate the crime. During prayer the next morning, another body is discovered; Venantius, a young translator of the manuscripts, was found in a vat of pig’s blood. William and Adso begin looking for a book that they believe both Adelmo and Venantius were reading. The only people allowed in the library are the librarian and his assistant, which makes the investigation even harder. Berengar, the librarian’s assistant, goes missing on the third day. Continuing the investigations, William deciphers a code that Venantius had left behind, which will help William and Adso get further into the library. On the fourth day, they found the Finis Africae, which is the room where they believe the book is hidden. The fifth day Severinus, the herbalist of the Abbey, was found dead and the book that William had trusted him with has been stolen. Malachi, the chief librarian of the Abbey, is blamed for the taking of the book. After Malachi died in prayer on the sixth day, it seemed as though William was going to solve the case, but the abbot then informed him that he did not want him investigating the crimes of the Abbey anymore. William and Adso find Jorge, a blind elderly monk who knows a great deal about books and the library, with the book in the Finis Africae and discovered the truth behind all of the murders. Jorge refused to let the book be read by anybody and ate all of the poisonous pages, knocked over a lamp and started the library on fire. When the library started on fire, there was little hope for the Abbey ever being as admired as it once had been (“The Name of the Rose”).
When a book is created into a film, there are always details of the plot that are changed. The film The Name of the Rose, directed by Jean Jacques Annaud, has a similar plot as the novel but gives off a different effect. As said by David Wisehart, “While the novel was a satisfying and complex mystery that inspired the intellect, the film is a satisfying and complex mystery that inspires indigestion” (Wisehart). This statement makes clear the difference of movies and books; Books can give more in depth details about the characters, setting, and emotions while movies create a picture to see the details. I personally like reading books better than watching movies because of the detail the books give. In the book, Adso of Melk is a Benedictine novice whereas in the movie he is a Franciscan novice; the whole story can be...
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3. Burke, Peter. "The Name of the Rose (Book Review)." History Today 34.5 (1984): 56. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 1 May 2010.
4. Canby, Vincent. “Film: Medieval Mystery In ‘The Name of the Rose’.” The New York Times. The New York Times Company, 24 September 1986. Web. 29 April 2010.
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