My Name is Red

My Name is Red

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My Name is Red Chapter 23 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The murderer quickly sketches a picture of an opium addict, which is part of a book he commissioned by a traveling Armenian. He has completed many of these books in order to earn a little money, and finds them boring. A week has passed since the murder, and the murderer does not feel able to suppress the jinns (spirits) within him. At night, he walks through the city to an abandoned, semi-collapsed dervish house which he visits frequently. The murderer notes that he does not fear earthly punishments, only the judgment of Allah. He is familiar with the punishments that murderers will suffer in Hell, although he adds that Elegant was not a real believer and that he had good reasons for killing Elegant. If he hadn’t killed Elegant, the Erzurumis would have condemned the miniaturists and destroyed the royal workshop. Before Elegant’s death, he had been insulting Enishte and the work he was doing on the book.
The murderer’s arrogantly dismissive attitude towards earthly punishments seems misplaced, given the fact that the eternal punishment of Hell is obviously far worse than whatever earthly fate will befall him. Although the murderer reassures himself that he had good reasons for killing Elegant, it is not clear that this is really true. The murderer does not seem to want to admit that he is disturbed by what he has done, but the fact that he wanders the city at night troubled by jinns suggests otherwise. At the same time, the murderer’s reasons for murdering Enishte are still not entirely clear—the fact that Elegant was insulting Enishte cannot be the only motivation.
Themes
Creation vs. Representation Theme Icon
Life, Death, and Consciousness Theme Icon
Virtue vs. Sin Theme Icon
Enishte kept the final illustration of the book secret, even from the miniaturists who were helping him to complete the other illustrations. The murderer wonders if this last illustration proves that Elegant’s prejudices were actually well-founded. The murderer passes Enishte’s house and sees Black leaving; he realizes that Black will complete the book and marry Shekure, and that Elegant had been right and was thus killed for nothing. The murderer follows Black down the street, intending to kill him. He watches the way Black walks, hating him for his sense of entitlement. The murderer is also in love with Shekure, and as he follows Black through the city streets he feels as though he is “imitating him.”
It is striking that the murderer is so suddenly convinced that Elegant could have been right, and that he could have thus murdered him for no reason. The murderer projects a sense of cool confidence, but is he really as self-assured as he seems? Note that this passage proves that the murderer is a jealous person, resentful not only of Black’s involvement with the book but also of his relationship with Shekure. Perhaps the murderer was motivated by jealousy of Elegant’s wealth after all.
Themes
Life, Death, and Consciousness Theme Icon
Virtue vs. Sin Theme Icon
Love, Desire, and Greed Theme Icon