The Name of the Rose The Name of the Rose question


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The last phrase
Arachne Arachne Dec 06, 2015 07:55AM
I read this book a few months ago but I still can't understand the meaning of the last phrase: "Yesterday's rose endures in its name; we hold empty names." Did anyone get the meaning?



"Yesterday's rose endures in its name; we hold empty names."
In my view Eco meant 'a rose is a rose is a rose', as someone once said. A rose is a fundamental truth, and as such simply is. Yesterday's rose might have withered, but even so, it was what it was: unequivocal in it's nature and simplicity of being. We, on the other hand, create artificial constructs around ourselves - perhaps religions (which have nothing to do with being spiritual), or politics (which have nothing to do with humanity) are the most obvious examples of the meaningless concepts with which most of us identify ourselves. Hence, 'we hold empty names'.


I'm guessing that Eco was responding to the Shakespeare quote. "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.'

Here "rose" is a concept and though a particular rose may have withered, the concept continues.

Yet the individual monks that populated this tale are doomed to obscurity. Their individual stories are destined to be forgotten.

That's my take anyway. I'd be curious what others think.


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