Study Guide

Silence Chapter 5

By Shusaku Endo

Chapter 5

  • At this point, the letters end, and the story is delivered via a standard third-person narrator.
  • Rodrigues is dragged through a village as "children and adults alike" gawk with amazement (5.1). The guards lead him to a small hut, where several villagers are already being held in shackles.
  • These people are happy to see the priest, at least—they're fellow Christians. Rodrigues meets Monica, a friendly woman, and Juan, her stoic, one-eyed friend.
  • Suddenly, a samurai enters the hut—it's the same guy who had taken the hostages in Tomogi. The old man casually apologizes for imprisoning them but demands that they renounce their faith.
  • The guards lead the prisoners away, but Rodrigues stays. The old samurai leaves the priest with ominous words, demanding that he apostatize or risk the lives of the people he just met.
  • Afterwards, Rodrigues sits in the hut wishing he could have done more. His musings are interrupted by the arrival of someone—someone who's speaking Portuguese, albeit haphazardly.
  • It's another samurai. This dude explains that he learned Portuguese at the "seminaries," though the priests had treated him and his fellow Japanese with pure contempt (5.62).
  • The two men get into a religious dialogue, with the interpreter taking the Buddhist perspective and Rodrigues taking the Catholic one. Rodrigues can tell that the interpreter has had this conversation many times before.
  • Finally, the interpreter lays his cards on the table—if Rodrigues does not apostatize, the prisoners "will be suspended upside down in the pit" until they die (5.94).
  • This technique was cooked up Inoue himself and was used to torture Father Ferreira. Unable to help himself, Rodrigues asks about his former teacher.
  • To Rodrigues's shock, the interpreter claims that Ferreira lives in Nagasaki, where he has taken a Japanese name and married a Japanese wife. This horrifies Rodrigues.
  • That night, Rodrigues is abruptly taken from his cell. Without telling him where they're going, the guards lead him to the beach and prod him onto a boat.
  • Eventually, Rodrigues learns that they're heading for Yokose-no-Ura, a port town that once boasted a "great Jesuit church [...] overlooking the harbor" (5.127). This excites Rodrigues.
  • Unfortunately, Rodrigues doesn't see anything upon their arrival—the whole village has been destroyed. Oddly, he can hear another boat paddling as they approach the shore…
  • The men arrive just as morning breaks. The guards lead the priests on a long procession through several villages—to his shock, Rodrigues sees Kichijiro standing with some Buddhist monks.
  • The men take a break later that afternoon. Out of nowhere, someone gives Rodrigues some rice—it's Kichijiro once again. Rodrigues is still too disgusted by the man's betrayal to give any thanks, however.