Analysis of Rosemary’s Baby and Religious Faith
Is God Dead? Rosemary’s baby written by Ira Levin is a masterpiece of modern day horror that emphasizes the importance of religion. Rosemary, Guy Woodhouse’s wife and a young soon to be mother was raised by a strict religious catholic family. As she supposedly became agnostic towards her catholic faith, she left behind her an angry, suspicious father, a silent mother and four resenting brothers and sisters (Levin, 24). Throughout the novel we learn that Rosemary has re-embraced her religious beliefs and has never truly abandoned them.
The author is also depicting a crisis of faith in the modern era explaining how there is a growing decline in religious belief in the 60’s.
Rosemary regrets doubting and turning away from her religious beliefs after she discovers that pure Satanic evil does exist, and is residing next door. She re-embraces her religious beliefs as she utters a prayer “Oh Father in heaven, forgive me for doubting! Oh Jesus help me save my innocent baby” (287). This reveals how she seeks forgiveness of ever doubting gods existence and the power of religion itself.
She is not only seeking forgiveness, but help for her baby. She realises that becoming agnostic and leaving her faith behind has allowed the devil to enter a doorway in her life.
She re-embraces religion because it is her last hope since Guy, Doctor Sapirstein, the Castevets have all terribly deceived her: “All of them, they were all in it together. All of them witches” (257). This betrayal caused her to search for hope and to reconcile her inner conflict she had with her own faith. Moreover, as Rosemary is giving birth she apologizes to her baby “I’m sorry, my little darling!
Forgive me! ” (272). She is apologizing for being too late and for failing to protect her new born from the evil that surrounds her.
Rosemary knows that if she had not put aside the importance of her catholic faith, this would not be happening. She then asks the child for forgiveness because she feels that it is her fault. This foreshadows how she wants to accord importance once again to her religion. She feels that she could be forgiven if she became a true catholic again. At this moment she would do anything to save her child from “those witches”.
Furthermore, Rosemary sees her helpless baby in a monstrous bassinet in the hands of the evil Satanists. She then proves re-embracement of her religious faith as she avoids collapsing and crying. Instead, “she shut her eyes tight to stop the tears and said a quick Hail Mary” (293). Even after all she has just been through, she still takes time to say a prayer. This demonstrates how she still has hope and faith.
Additionally, not only does Rosemary go through evolution by re-embracing religion; she has also never abandoned her beliefs.
When asked by the Castavets if she is religious, Rosemary’s response is flustered and confused: “No, no not at all, I was brought up to be but now I am agnostic” (76). As Mrs. Castevet wanted more details about how she truly felt about the Pope and religion, Rosemary answers: “Well he is the Pope; I’ve been conditioned to have respect for him and still do” (77). This demonstrates that even though she does not think of him has holy anymore, she still has respect for him.
This proves that the way her family raised her impacts her view on the Pope regardless if she is religious or not.
As the Pope is visiting New York, Rosemary takes time to watch his appearance on television and to listen to his speeches. She mentions that the Pope’s speech at the UN “moved her” (102). Which reveals once again that he is important for her and that she respects him. As well, Rosemary receives a phone call from her sister Margaret and reveals an important declaration: “Religion doesn’t mean as much to me now as it did back home” (104).
This reveals to us how religion remains meaningful to her even though it is not as important as it used to be. As Rosemary wavers in her own beliefs, she does not abandon them.
Furthermore, in Rosemary’s dream we perceive how she is in conflict with the beliefs towards religion and her agnostic point of view. She dreams of a church burning on fire and of catholic prejudices (113). Her unconscious reveals how her loss in interest with the catholic faith troubles her.
In the dream, the Pope is also there with a suitcase and she asks him for forgiveness (116). This foreshadows how she wishes the Pope would forgive her for ever doubting the religion and how she seeks acceptance from him and her family. Lastly, the author is aiming to depict a crisis of faith in contemporary society.
This is seen when Rosemary picks up a copy of Time magazine that was right next to her. “Is God dead”? It asked in red letters on a black background (255). This reveals how the society is doubting the existence of god.
It also expresses the need for society to recognize that it is behaving as if God were no longer active in the world. The fact that the author took the time to mention this specific magazine foreshadows how Rosemary is not the only one doubting existence of god. As well, when Rosemary see’s the cover of the magazine she looks for the index right away and turned to the show business section (255).
She did not read it because at that moment the existence of God did not mean much to her. This reveals how the God of the Christian past no longer served a function.
For instance, the “Bramford” is a perfect example. Its morbid history of cannibalism and Satanism, infanticide and suicide, becomes reason for the growing decline of religious belief (26). Society is asking “If God does truly exist, how could he let these things occur? ” 1,001 Words WORKS CITED Levin, Ira. Rosemary’s Baby. New York: New American Library, 1967. Print.