The Name of the Rose Literary Elements

The Name of the Rose Literary Elements


Fictional autobiography

Setting and Context

The action takes place in Italy in the beginning of tenth century and the action takes place over the course of five days.

Narrator and Point of View

The story is told from Adso’s first person limited and subjective point of view.

Tone and Mood

Tragic, violent, regretful

Protagonist and Antagonist

The protagonists are William and Adso and the antagonist is Jorge.

Major Conflict

The major conflict is the result of William’s thirst for knowledge and the monks’ conviction that knowledge should be hidden from everyone.


The story reaches its climax when the abbey burns to the ground.


The images Adso sees on the first door he goes through foreshadow the horrors he will see inside the abbey.


When Adso claims that he will have no problems in forgetting the girl he slept with is an understatement because Adso proves that he can’t stop himself from thinking about the unnamed girl he meet in the kitchen.


One of the ideas alluded in the novel is the fact that it is hard to make a difference between who is a heretic and who is a simple man. Both William and Adso believe this and think that the difference is important only for the religious leaders who use the claim of heresy to get rid of those they do not like and of those who do not agree with them.


An important image appears at the end of the book, when Adso thinks about his life and about what he had done after the abbey burnt to the ground. Adso remember that he returned to the abbey and tried to recover some of the burnt manuscripts and that he continued to study those manuscripts for the rest of his life. The image of the burnt passages is important because it shows that Adso was influenced by the time he spent with William and that he became interested in knowledge just as his old master once was.


The paradoxical idea in the novel is the fact that while initially, the librarians tried to preserve the precious knowledge in the books by not allowing anyone to touch them, in the end they contributed to the destruction of the said knowledge through their protective attitude.


The narrator draws parallels between William and the rest of the monks who did everything they could to hide the truth and to hide the true nature of the books they were trying to keep secret. While the monks believed that William’s obsession was destructive, they ignored the destructiveness of their own behavior and in the end they all had to pay the price of their actions.

Metonymy and Synecdoche




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