Despite being intellectual human beings, with the power to rule, and the ability to reason, we are flawed by nature. Every person struggles with the vice of temptation, whether it is an adulterous temptation, temptation of food, power, or money; somehow or another it haunts us all. It is even seen in the Name of the Rose, the issue of desire and temptation is a lasting theme throughout the novel. Salvatore lusts for women, Berengar wants young men, the abbot desires jewels and power, and Benno craves knowledge. For many monks, knowledge was such a huge temptation, so big, that they were willing to do anything in order to gain knowledge, regardless of what it takes to achieve. This includes heretical acts.
Knowledge in The Name of the Rose, was so highly valued, some monks would do absolutely anything if it meant gaining knowledge, Eco even related knowledge to a monk as adultery for a laymen, “A monk should surely love his books with humility, wishing their good and not the glory of his own curiosity; but what the temptation of adultery is for laymen and the yearning of riches is for secular ecclesiastics, the seduction of knowledge is for monks” (pp 183.) This can be seen in many of the monks in Eco’s novel, one in particular was Benno. Despite his vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, Benno is willing to break them, and sin, in order to gain knowledge (pp 183). This, in my opinion is heretical; going against ones core beliefs in an attempt to gain intellectual pride, or other type of appeal.
I saw this in my own life during my high school years. I went to Central Catholic High School. Obviously because it is a Catholic school, we are required to take religion classes throughout our four years. Unfortunately, however, many of the theology teachers at Central taught ideas contrary to that of their, so called, Catholic faith. One teacher in particular, however, seemed to teach these ideas defying the Catholic religion for the sheer pleasure of seeing students, such as me, become angry and argue issues during class. I can remember getting into heated arguments with him, and the conceited look of arrogance he had smeared all over his face, it disgusted me. Regardless of his responsibility to accurately, and truthfully teach the Catholic faith, he chose to defy certain Catholic issues, in an attempt to gain personal satisfaction. I, of course, being the one unruly student, went to the principal of our school thinking he would surely do something to stop such nonsense. However, for reasons I will not go into, nothing happened to this heretical teacher of mine. Regardless of the indolence of my principal, I did all I could to make right, this wrong happening in my high school.
Just as the monks yearned for knowledge, my teacher yearned for self-assurance and achieved it even if it meant going against the teachings of the Catholic Church. Just as I said above, despite the notion that human beings are higher, more advanced and intellectual beings, we are all flawed by nature….some more than others.