“Angels and Demons:” Pride Comes Before a Fall

Angels & Demons

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Angels & Demons is a 2000 bestselling mysterythriller novel written by American author Dan Brown and published by Pocket Books and then by Corgi Books. The novel introduces the character Robert Langdon, who is also the protagonist of Brown’s subsequent 2003 novel, The Da Vinci Code; his 2009 novel, The Lost Symbol; and the 2013 novel Inferno. Angels and Demons shares many stylistic literary elements with its sequel, such as conspiracies of secret societies, a single-day time frame, and the Catholic Church. Ancient history, architecture, and symbolism are also heavily referenced throughout the book. A film adaptation was released on May 15, 2009. The Da Vinci Code film had been released in 2006.


CERN director Maximilian Kohler discovers one of the facility’s physicists, Leonardo Vetra, murdered. His chest is branded with an ambigram of the word “Illuminati“. Kohler contacts Robert Langdon, an expert on the Illuminati, who determines that the ambigram is authentic. Kohler calls Vetra’s adopted daughter Vittoria to the scene, and it is ascertained that the Illuminati have stolen a canister containing antimatter — a substance with destructive potential comparable to a nuclear weapon. When at CERN the canister is stored in a unique electrical charger which ensures the antimatter’s stability but when removed its back-up battery provides power for 24 hours after which the anti-matter will self-destruct. The canister is somewhere in Vatican City, with a security camera in front of it, as its digital clock counts down to the explosion.

Langdon and Vittoria make their way to Vatican City, where the Pope has recently died. They are told that the four Preferiti, the cardinals who are most likely to be elected pope, are missing. Langdon and Vittoria search for the Preferiti in hopes that they will also find the antimatter canister. Their search is assisted by Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca (the late pope’s closest aide) and the Vatican’s Swiss Guard.

Langdon attempts to retrace the steps of the “Path of Illumination”, a process once used by the Illuminati as a means of inducting new members; aspirants to the order were required to follow a series of subtle clues left in various landmarks in and around Rome. The clues indicate the secret meeting place of the Illuminati. Langdon sets off on the Path of Illumination in hopes of delivering the Preferiti and recovering the antimatter canister.

The Path leads Langdon to four locations in Rome, each associated with one of the primordial elements: ‘Earth’, ‘Air’, ‘Fire’, and ‘Water’. Langdon finds one of the Preferiti murdered in a way thematically related to each location’s related element. The first cardinal was branded with an Earth ambigram and had soil forced down his throat, suffocating him; the second was branded with an Air ambigram and had his lungs punctured; the third was branded with a Fire ambigram and was burned alive; and the fourth was branded with a Water ambigram and was wrapped in chains and left to drown at the bottom of a fountain.

After finding the bodies of the first two Preferiti, Langdon hurries to the Santa Maria della Vittoria Basilica and finds the Preferiti’s abductor in the act of setting the third cardinal on fire. The kidnapper is an unnamed assassin who is working under the orders of the Illuminati master “Janus”, whose true identity is unknown. Commander Olivetti is killed and the assassin kidnaps Vittoria. Langdon escapes and accosts the assassin at the final element’s landmark (Water), but is unable to save the cardinal.

Langdon must complete the Path of Illumination in order to find the assassin and rescue Vittoria. His search leads him to Castel Sant’Angelo, which hides a tunnel leading directly into the pope’s chambers in the Vatican. Langdon frees Vittoria, and together they send the assassin falling several hundred feet to his death. The two hurry back to St. Peter’s Basilica, where they find that Kohler has arrived to confront the Camerlengo in private. Langdon and Vittoria fear that Kohler is Janus, and that he has come to murder the Camerlengo. Hearing the Camerlengo scream in agony from being branded with the Illuminati Diamond, the Swiss Guards burst into the room and open fire on Kohler. Just before he dies, Kohler gives Langdon a videotape that he says to show to the media.

With time running out, the Swiss Guard evacuates the Basilica. The Camerlengo rushes back in, claiming that he has received a vision from God revealing the location of the antimatter canister. With Langdon in pursuit, the Camerlengo ventures into the catacombs and finds the canister sitting atop the tomb of Saint Peter. Langdon and the Camerlengo retrieve the antimatter and get in a helicopter with only minutes to spare. The Camerlengo manages to parachute safely onto the roof of St. Peter’s just as the canister explodes harmlessly in the sky. The crowd in St. Peter’s Square look in awe as the Camerlengo stands triumphantly before them. Because of this “miracle”, the papal conclave debate whether to elect the Camerlengo as the new Pope. Langdon manages to survive the explosion by using a window cover from the helicopter as a parachute, and lands in the Tiber River.

After viewing Kohler’s tape, Langdon, Vittoria, and the cardinals confront the Camerlengo. Shortly before the beginning of the novel, the Pope met with Leonardo Vetra who believed that anti-matter was capable of establishing a link between humanity and God. Vetra’s beliefs caused great discomfort to the Camerlengo. While discussing Vetra, the pope reveals that his support is due to science having given him a son. Without waiting to hear the explanation (that the child was the result of artificial insemination), and horrified that the Pope appeared to have broken his vow of chastity, the Camerlengo plots to “rectify” the situation. He poisoned the pope and, under the guise of an Illuminati master (Janus), he recruited the assassin to kill Vetra, steal the antimatter, and kidnap and murder the Preferiti. The Camerlengo planted the antimatter in St. Peter’s, feigned his last-minute vision from God, and retrieved the canister just in time to save the Vatican from the ensuing explosion. This was in hope to unite the struggling Catholic Church. The Illuminati “involvement” was merely a plot engineered by the Camerlengo to cover his own plans. Upon the discovery and the Camerlengo’s attempts to justify his killing of the Pope, Mortati, Dean of the College of Cardinals, reveals that Carlo Ventresca (the Camerlengo) was in fact the biological son of the late pope, conceived with a nun through artificial insemination. Overcome with guilt, Ventresca soaks himself in oil and sets himself on fire before a crowd of onlookers in St. Peter’s Square. His ashes are recovered by Mortati, who places them in an urn inside his father’s sarcophagus. It is revealed that the Cardinals’ endorsing of him would in fact have made him Pope by acclamation. Mortati is elected his successor by the conclave, and Langdon and Vittoria reunite at Hotel Bernini where they share an extensive meal before making love. The last brand, the long-lost “Illuminati Diamond”, is delivered by a Swiss Guard to Langdon on an indefinite loan, provided he would return it to the other Illuminati brands – long-since owned by the Vatican – through his final will.


The Sin of Pride

(Source: http://www.deadlysins.com/pride/)

“It was Pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels.” – St. Augustine


The Sin of Pride is said by some to the the foremost of the Seven Deadly Sins. Hubris is the gateway through all other sin enters the mortal soul.

What is it?

Pride is excessive belief in one’s own abilities that interferes with the individual’s recognition of the grace of God. It has been called the sin from which all others arise. Pride is also known as Vanity.

Why you do it?

Well-meaning elementary school teachers told you to “believe in yourself.”

Your punishment in Hell will be?

You’ll be broken on the wheel.

Associated symbols & suchlike

Pride is linked with the horse and the color violet.

Related Resources

Medieval theologian Thomas Aquinas said of Pride “inordinate self-love is the cause of every sin (1,77) … the root of pride is found to consist in man not being, in some way, subject to God and His rule.”

The Travelers’ Guide to Hell says that
Pride is ruled by the celestial sign of the Sun. It is “the mother of all sins… the thin line between righteousness and self-righteousness.”

Of the seven deadly sins, pride is the only one with a virtuous side. It is certainly a good thing to have pride in one’s country, in one’s community, in oneself. But when taken too far, as Michael Eric Dyson shows in Pride, these virtues become deadly sins.


The Seven Deadly Sins

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The seven deadly sins, also known as the capital vices or cardinal sins, is a classification of vices (part of Christian ethics) that has been used since early Christian times to educate and instruct Christians concerning fallen humanity’s tendency to sin. In the currently recognized version, the sins are usually given as wrathgreedsloth, pridelustenvy, and gluttony. Each is a form of Idolatry-of-Self wherein the subjective reigns over the objective.

The Catholic Church divides sin into two categories: venial sins, in which guilt is relatively minor, and the more severe mortal sins. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, a mortal or deadly sin is believed to destroy the life of grace andcharity within a person. Mortal sin, by attacking the vital principle within us – that is, charity – necessitates a new initiative of God’s mercy and venial sin, a classification of vices (part of Christian ethics) that has been used since early Christian times to educate and instruct Christians concerning fallen humanity’s tendency to sin.

Beginning in the early 14th century, the popularity of the seven deadly sins as a theme among European artists of the time eventually helped to ingrain them in many areas of Catholic culture and Catholic consciousness in general throughout the world. One means of such ingraining was the creation of the mnemonic acronym “SALIGIA” based on the first letters in Latin of the seven deadly sins: superbiaavaritialuxuriainvidiagulairaacedia.

Biblical lists

In the Book of Proverbs 6:16-19, among the verses traditionally associated with King Solomon, it states that the Lord specifically regards “six things the Lord hateth, and seven that are an abomination unto Him”, namely:

  1. A proud look
  2. A lying tongue
  3. Hands that shed innocent blood
  4. A heart that devises wicked plots
  5. Feet that are swift to run into mischief
  6. A deceitful witness that uttereth lies
  7. Him that soweth discord among brethren

Another list, given this time by the Epistle to the Galatians (Galatians 5:19-21), includes more of the traditional seven sins, although the list is substantially longer: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envying, murders, drunkenness, revelling, “and such like”. Since the apostle Paul goes on to say that the persons who practice these sins “shall not inherit the Kingdom of God”, they are usually listed as (possible) mortal sins rather than capital vices.


The modern concept of the seven deadly sins is linked to the works of the fourth-century monk Evagrius Ponticus, who listed eight evil thoughts in Greek as follows:

  • Γαστριμαργία(gastrimargia) gluttony
  • Πορνεία(porneia) prostitutionfornication
  • Φιλαργυρία(philargyria) avarice
  • Ὑπερηφανία(hyperēphania) hubris – sometimes rendered as self-esteem.
  • Λύπη(lypē) sadness – in the Philokalia, this term is rendered as envy, sadness at another’s good fortune
  • Ὀργή(orgē) wrath
  • Κενοδοξία(kenodoxia) boasting
  • Ἀκηδία(akēdia) acedia – in the Philokalia, this term is rendered as dejection

They were translated into the Latin of Western Christianity (largely due to the writings of John Cassian) thus becoming part of the Western tradition’s spiritual pietas (orCatholic devotions), as follows:

  • Gula(gluttony)
  • Fornicatio(fornication, lust)
  • Avaritia(avarice/greed)
  • Superbia(hubris, pride)
  • Tristitia(sorrow/despair/despondency)
  • Ira(wrath)
  • Vanagloria(vainglory)
  • Acedia(sloth)

These “evil thoughts” can be categorized into three types:

  • lustful appetite (gluttony, fornication, and avarice)
  • irascibility (wrath)
  • mind-related (vainglory, sorrow, pride, and discouragement)

In AD 590, a little over two centuries after Evagrius wrote his list, Pope Gregory I revised this list to form the more commonSeven Deadly Sins, by folding (sorrow/despair/despondency) into acediavainglory into pride, and adding envy.  In the order used by Pope Gregory, and repeated by Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) centuries later in his epic poem The Divine Comedy, the seven deadly sins are as follows:

  1. luxuria(lechery/lust)
  2. gula(gluttony)
  3. avaritia(avarice/greed)
  4. acedia(sloth/discouragement)
  5. ira(wrath)
  6. invidia(envy)
  7. superbia(pride)

The identification and definition of the seven deadly sins over their history has been a fluid process and the idea of what each of the seven actually encompasses has evolved over time. Additionally, as a result of semantic change:

  • socordiasloth was substituted for acedia

It is this revised list that Dante uses. The process of semantic change has been aided by the fact that the personality traits are not collectively referred to, in either a cohesive or codified manner, by the Bible itself; other literary and ecclesiastical works were instead consulted, as sources from which definitions might be drawn. Part II of Dante’s Divine Comedy,Purgatorio, has almost certainly been the best known source since the Renaissance.

The modern Catholic Catechism lists the sins in Latin as “superbia, avaritia, invidia, ira, luxuria, gula, pigritia seu acedia“, with an English translation of “pride, avarice, envy, wrath, lust, gluttony, and sloth/acedia“. Each of the seven deadly sins now also has an opposite among corresponding seven holy virtues (sometimes also referred to as the contrary virtues). In parallel order to the sins they oppose, the seven holy virtues are humility, charity, kindnesspatiencechastitytemperance, and diligence.


Pride (Latin, superbia), or hubris (Greek), is considered, on almost every list, the original and most serious of the seven deadly sins: the source of the others. It is identified as believing that one is essentially better than others, failing to acknowledge the accomplishments of others, and excessive admiration of the personal self (especially holding self out of proper position toward God); it also includes vainglory(Latin, vanagloria) which is unjustified boasting. Dante’s definition of pride was “love of self perverted to hatred and contempt for one’s neighbour”. In Jacob Bidermann’s medieval miracle playCenodoxus, pride is the deadliest of all the sins and leads directly to the damnation of the titulary famed Parisian doctor. In perhaps the best-known example, the story of Lucifer, pride (his desire to compete with God) was what caused his fall from Heaven, and his resultant transformation into Satan. In Dante’sDivine Comedy, the penitents are burdened with stone slabs on their necks which force them to keep their heads bowed.

Historical sins


Acedia (Latin, acedia) (from Greek ἀκηδία) is the neglect to take care of something that one should do. It is translated to apathetic listlessness; depression without joy. It is related to melancholyacedia describes the behaviour and melancholy suggests the emotion producing it. In early Christian thought, the lack of joy was regarded as a willful refusal to enjoy the goodness of God and the world God created; by contrast, apathy was considered a refusal to help others in time of need.

When Thomas Aquinas described acedia in his interpretation of the list, he described it as an uneasiness of the mind, being a progenitor for lesser sins such as restlessness and instability. Dante refined this definition further, describing acedia as the failure to love God with all one’s heart, all one’s mind and all one’s soul; to him it was the middle sin, the only one characterised by an absence or insufficiency of love. Some scholars have said that the ultimate form of acedia was despair which leads to suicide.


Vainglory (Latin, vanagloria) is unjustified boasting. Pope Gregory viewed it as a form of pride, so he folded vainglory into pride for his listing of sins.

The Latin term gloria roughly means boasting, although its English cognate – glory – has come to have an exclusively positive meaning; historically, vain roughly meant futile, but by the 14th century had come to have the strong narcissistic undertones, of irrelevant accuracy, that it retains today. As a result of these semantic changes,vainglory has become a rarely used word in itself, and is now commonly interpreted as referring to vanity (in its modern narcissistic sense).

The Catholic Seven Virtues

The Catholic Church also recognizes seven virtues, which correspond inversely to each of the seven deadly sins.

Vice Latin Virtue Latin
Lust Luxuria Chastity Castitas
Gluttony Gula Temperance Temperantia
Greed Avaritia Charity (or, sometimes, Generosity) Caritas
Sloth Acedia Diligence Industria
Wrath Ira Patience Patientia
Envy Invidia Kindness Humanitas
Pride Superbia Humility Humilitas

Associations with demons

The Lanterne of Light, an anonymous English Lollard tract often attributed to Wycliffe (with dissent expressed regarding that conclusion), paired each of the deadly sins with a demon who tempted people by means of the associated sin.

According to this classification system, the pairings are as follows:

In 1589, Peter Binsfeld again paired each of the deadly sins with a demon, in a slightly contrasting classification system, whereby the pairings are as follows:


According to a 2009 study by a Jesuit scholar, the most common deadly sin confessed by men is lust, and for women, pride. It was unclear whether these differences were due to the actual number of transgressions committed by each gender, or whether differing views on what “counts” or should be confessed caused the observed pattern.


“Angels and Demons”: A Critical Analysis

(Source: http://angelsanddemonsbookreveiw.blogspot.in/2012/08/angels-and-demonsa-critical-analysis.html)

Introduction to Novel and Report:

The novel is a breathless, real-time adventure. It is exciting, fast-paced, with an unusually high IQ.

The novel covers a fiction-based adventure, occurring in Rome, including all factual places and architecture.

The setting in the novel is all antique Christianity-based art-work including churches, sculptures and paintings all over Rome (Vatican City). The time frame is based on the long-lasting confusion between Science and the religion, increasing in this modern age, where Science is progressing rapidly, influencing our lives.

My report on this novel discusses the aspects stressed by author.

One of the major issues discussed in the story is the ever-lasting conflict between religion and science. The story is sketched between the Roman Papal-dominance and an ancient brotherhood of Science – The Illuminati (the enlightened ones).

Another aspect is the question for the preference of Science or religion on basis of which gives the best suitable answers to the questions the man has, since the very beginning of time. There is again an argument whether Science or religion solves or aggravates the situation.

In the report, character development, continuity and coherence of the events taking place in novel, imagery and details of the ancient Roman art and structure and central dogma of the novel are discussed.

Author’s un-biased flow in the story:

The coherence never breaks in the novel. Author has remained unbiased throughout the story. He has neutrally compared Science and Religion and has left the decision to the reader for the right choice. He has just made a debate for positive and negative aspects and has pictured effects and side-effects of both for the readers.

Tone /mood of the story and writing style:

The author at first seems to be more stuffed with scientific terms as he introduces CERN and explores so many modern devices in there i.e Particle accelerator, HSCT (high speed civil transport), Haz-Mat, the world wide web, Kohler’s electric wheel-chair, anti-matter and specially designed canisters for its storage, annihilation chambers etc.

The writing style of the story is very moving and captivating. At time, while reading, the reader miss a heartbeat. Collectively, it was not a literary novel in terms of writing but the author knew how to end a chapter, keep a book moving and develop some good character.

Writer’s theme / central dogma:

The main purpose of the author to write such a story seems as if he is trying to coincide the ends of Science and Religion, which most of the times is thought to be a distance apart. The author has set a fitction as well as thriller in a historic plot. All the settings in the novel are stunningly superb. It keeps a reader going and also u-to-date with history as well Science. The main objective that author wants to achieve is he is trying to tell a new way how to balance between both the important things for life. He also gives a notion to the readers that Science never confronts the religion rather it reinforces its ideas. He is of the view that Science itself is not bad at all, but who is uses it makes the difference. So is the case with religion. It seems that the story satisfies the dogma and objective that wants to get, so far.

Some differences between the novel and the movie based on it:

  1. In the novel, the anti-matter concept was kept between Vittoria and her father, but this is not mentioned in the movie.
  2. Leonardo Vetra wasn’t found dead in the movie.
  3. Robert Langdon finds everything easily and so quickly in the movie, while in the novel he faces the difficulty of dim-lighting, choking (no air inside the Archives in order to keep ancient scriptures safe from environmental hazards) and complex catalouging.
  4. The annoying tour-guide that Langdon and Vittoria find in the Pantheon is completely absent in the movie.
  5. The BBC reporter and camera-woman, Gunther Glick and Chinita Marci that follow them all throughout the expedition are absent in the movie.

Climax and resolution:

Using the fore-shadowing technique at many places, it may occur to the reader as climax at every such point, but the original climax comes when it is revealed that as the Illuminati plot was engineered by Camerlengo Carlo Vetrensca and no Janus or Illuminati really exist in the whole scene. The fact unveiled at the end that Carlo is the son of late Pope (which he conceived by artificial insemination) can be said another climax.

The point when Carlo pretends to get a revelation or a secret message from God regarding the exact location of anti-matter may also seems to be a climax.

But the actual climax is the one mentioned earlier and the author has superbly resolved it, leaving no confusion in the reader’s mind.

Besides the climax, the story contains a number of scenes where a reader cannot leave the story (that is actually the definition of climax)


“Angels & Demons” is a 2000 bestselling mysterythriller novel written by American author Dan Brown and published by Corgi Books.

The novel introduces the character Robert Langdon. It also shares many stylistic literary elements with its sequel, such as conspiracies of secret societies, a single-day time frame, and the Catholic Church. Ancient history, architecture, and symbolism are also heavily referenced throughout the book.

My initial reaction to this book, having read the cover blurbs was definitely not a positive one. I envisioned an international spy thriller with religious and historical overtones. While a perfectly acceptable premise for a novel, but subject matter that has little interest for me. But I was wrong. While the capsule description on the cover is accurate, Angels and Demons has a much more wide-ranging appeal.

The story itself is very plot-driven and the suspense never seems to end. It is a page turner, thriller-packed from the very beginning. It contains a little bit of everything including a little romance, drama, science fiction and lots of action. But what had my eyes glued to the pages was the amount of mysteries and questions that came with every moment. The reader doesn’t need to worry about getting lost, this book didn’t have so many characters that one couldn’t keep up easily.

It is exceedingly well written. The author makes no mistakes in plotting, and draws the reader’s interest into unfamiliar territory with his accurate prose. Scientific matters are explained in terms laymen can easily understand. The history and customs of the Catholic church are discussed in detail as they relate to the plot. A physical description of the buildings and terrain of Vatican City, worthy of any travelogue, both as it appears today and did historically is presented adding a realistic touch to the novel.

In short, Angels and Demons is a good escapist fiction. Black-hearted villains, a damsel in distress, a reluctant hero, a mystery, a smattering of red-herrings.


The main purpose of this blog is not so much a detailed discussion on the complex plot of “Angels and Demons,” as it is an insight into false pride and arrogance – it is a story of overriding ambition wherein one man (Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca – the late Pope’s closest aide) is totally ruthless, brazenly unscrupulous and highly insensitive in his race to reach the top of the ladder. Some people do not care whose feet (or how many feet, for that matter) they need to trample before winning the race to the top. This is a work of fiction, based on real settings but it amply describes how false pride and arrogance will always have a fall.

This story just goes to prove that the means do not justify the end (or vice versa.) Ambition, in itself, is not wrong – it is noteworthy, provided the pursuit of it does not put others down in the hope of promoting oneself.

It is thus not for nothing that Pride occupies the first place among the Seven Deadly Sins.

Scene from the movie.
Scene from the movie.
Scene from the movie.
Scene from the movie.
Scene from the movie.
Scene from the movie.
Scene from the movie.
Scene from the movie.
Scene from the movie.
Scene from the movie.
Scene from the movie.
Scene from the movie.
Scene from the movie.
Scene from the movie.
Scene from the movie.
Scene from the movie.
Scene from the movie.
Scene from the movie.

Pride always comes before a fall.

The novel, "Angels and Demons" by Dan Brown.
The novel, “Angels and Demons” by Dan Brown.
The movie, "Angels and Demons"  is based on the novel by Dan Brown.
The movie, “Angels and Demons” is based on the novel by Dan Brown.
Poster of the movie, "Angels and Demons."
Poster of the movie, “Angels and Demons.”

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