My Name is Red

My Name is Red


Orhan Pamuk

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My Name is Red: Chapter 47 Summary & Analysis

Satan announces that he believes in himself and normally does not care what others say about him, but now he wishes to clarify the truth in the face of rumors and slander. He admits that it’s true that he refused to bow before man, and that he swore he would tempt people into committing sins until the Day of Judgment. Satan points out that evil is an important and necessary part of the universe, otherwise Allah would not have permitted it to exist. He stresses that he is “not the source of all the evil and sin in the world.” People are too eager to blame Satan for things they are tempted to do out of their own free will. He adds that religious zealots label some activities sinful that God does not actually object to, such as “passing wind and jacking off.” He notes that the Hoja of Erzurum has been denouncing figurative painting and blaming it on Satan. However, Satan points out that he has never bowed before man as the European figurative painters do. In fact, it was by forcing the angels to bow before humanity that God made humanity proud in the first place.
Satan’s narrative is a crucially important chapter in the book. On one level, Satan confirms the beliefs of Enishte, Stork, Black, and the Sultan by noting that Allah does not consider minor offenses a sin and that concerns that the European style is idolatrous are misplaced. Indeed, Satan puts an interesting spin on the question of idolatry by suggesting that he is the opposite of idolatrous, having refused to bow down before man. At the same time, this passage also explores the idea of narrative trust and it playfully suggests that the reader is likely not to trust Satan. This is especially true because “Satan” is, of course, not really Satan at all, but rather the storyteller who is personally invested in denouncing religious fundamentalism.
Storytelling, Identity, and Perspective Theme Icon
Creation vs. Representation Theme Icon
Life, Death, and Consciousness Theme Icon
Virtue vs. Sin Theme Icon
Love, Desire, and Greed Theme Icon
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