My Name is Red

My Name is Red

My Name is Red Chapter 17 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Enishte hears Shekure’s sobbing as he reads a passage from the Book of the Apocalypse, which states that three days after death, the soul returns to the body and is horrified to see the state it’s in. Enishte thinks sadly about Elegant, and heads out through the snow-covered streets to the funeral. At the mosque, Enishte embraces Elegant’s brothers and the miniaturists, and feels such anger at Elegant’s murderer that he almost forgets his prayers. He notes that he’d forgotten that Stork sometimes made negative comments about Elegant’s gilding work. Olive embraces Enishte, and Enishte thinks that he has most faith in Olive out of all the miniaturists. Enishte sees Master Osman and there is an awkward tension between them. Enishte knows that Osman is angry about the secret book and resentful of having to imitate the European painters. Black puts a hand on his uncle’s shoulders, and Enishte admits that he knows this is who has been troubling Shekure. Enishte wonders if Black will agree to live in his house should he and Shekure wed.
Enishte has a powerful sense of intuition, which allows him to know immediately that Black and Shekure are in love simply by the feeling of Black’s hands on his shoulders. At the same time, his sense of intuition is not necessarily completely reliable. He expresses trust in Olive and hints at a sense of distrust in Stork, yet these feelings seem more based on sporadic memories than well-founded rational assessment. Although Enishte is not presented as being a bad person, he does approach matters in a rather self-centered way. For example, he trusts Olive because of the fact that Olive embraces him, and he indicates that he will approve of Black and Shekure marrying if they stay in his house. This self-interest leaves Enishte vulnerable to manipulation.
Themes
Storytelling, Identity, and Perspective Theme Icon
Life, Death, and Consciousness Theme Icon
Virtue vs. Sin Theme Icon
The procession continues. Butterfly walks over and tells Enishte he knows Olive and Stork are behind Elegant’s death. They knew Butterfly had a bad relationship with Elegant and they believe the blame will fall on him. Enishte is dismissive of this claim, telling Butterfly he doesn’t think any of the miniaturists are capable of murder. However, immediately afterwards Enishte has an “epiphany” and realizes that the murderer is a member of the royal artisans’ workshop and is even in the funeral procession. He begins to feel suspicious of Butterfly, and suddenly tells him he’s decided to cease work on the book, feeling that there’s “ill-fortune” in the project. At that moment, Elegant’s face is uncovered to reveal his smashed skull. Enishte immediately remembers a time 30 years ago when the Sultan’s grandfather decided to take Cyprus from the Venetians. Enishte was charged with going to Venice and informing them of the Sultan’s intentions. Some local citizens attempted to murder Enishte, and he was confronted with the reality of his own death. Back in the present, Enishte asks Black to take him home. Faced with death, Enishte resolves once again to complete the book “whatever the cost.”
This passage intensifies the sense that Enishte is losing his grip on reason due to his paranoia, confusion, and fear. At first Enishte is entirely trustful of the miniaturists, refusing to believe that any of them would be capable of murdering Enishte. However, almost immediately he changes his mind and becomes convinced that the opposite is true. Enishte has a similar series of sudden changes of opinion over the book. Although Enishte is a well-respected authority among the miniaturists, the specter of Elegant’s death and the possibility of Enishte’s own death cause him to think in a frantic, irrational way. This does not bode well for Enishte’s ultimate decision to finish work on the book; his statement that he will do so “whatever the cost” seems to imply that Enishte knows the book will lead to his death.
Themes
Creation vs. Representation Theme Icon
Life, Death, and Consciousness Theme Icon
Virtue vs. Sin Theme Icon