“Decaying” and “crippled” are words that highlight the never ending pain of war. Mandras starts to become to involved with the battle and forgets his humanity. When he suspects he is going mad, he stops to rest in a cave and when he wakes up he is welcomed by an ugly, large, unclean and insane one-eyed hag who can only say “Circe”. He notices “that she was a simple soul to whom God had given a kind heart. ” Which shows us that Mandras has more than just a war driven mind and has the ability to look beyond the appearance of those whom are isolated form society and find a persons more generous and humane sideThrough out the novel Mandras’s story is one of the most interesting.
He changes character, loses his mind and gradually becomes inhuman. The reason for this could be the war itself or furthermore the types of people invlolved in the war with whom he must fight. For instance Louis de Bernieres adds a scene were Hector takes Mandras to a tiny village in order to test him. As soon as he arrives, an old, trembling man is taken from his house into the sunlight. A knotted rope is given to Mandras to punish the old man, accused of theft. Mandras starts with the punishment, but is then interrupted by Hector, who tells him how to do it properly:”You start at the top, then you do the same across the bottom, and then you fill in between in parallel lines, until the skin is all gone”. This horrific event is an act of cowardness and inhumanity. After Mandras had finished whiping the old man, he is ordered to kill him.
The fisherman, first hesitates, but then manages to shoot the man. This conveys the fact that war affects men and men affect other men. Hector is a war bound maniac who drastically affects Mandras’s way of thinking and the only reason Mandras does this is to fit in with what he believes to be ‘a heroic force’.This behaviour explores how Mandras’ views on war and judgment is clouded under the influence of the wrong type of people. When Carlo Piero Guercio’s is first mentioned his writings are intended to be read only after his death “when neither scorn nor loss of reputation may dog my steps nor blemish me”. It is a confession of his homosexuality and shows his feelings and thoughts about this issue. He feels as an outsider and will be rejected by all due to him not being ‘normal’; “I have been reduced to eternal and infinite silence..
.That I must marry and lead the life of a normal man” This chapter contains no action and it appeals mainly to emotions. He shows himself as someone who thinks a lot, and reads much (he mentions some writings of Dante, Plato, Aristophanes, Phaedrus and Homer). A tendancy to empathise with Carlo is unavoidable as we see ourselves are the ones to be blame. We cause a prejudice to society and the views back in the time of the war were very similar. It is unjust that Carlo must live a lie in order to ‘fit in’ to normality and hide his true identity.The Italian soldier writes about a “conspiracy” of priests and doctors against his kind, discriminating them and calling their sexual preference an abomination.
Carlo’s grief is evident. He admits having entered the army because of the presence of young and beautiful men, and also because he wanted someone to love, to impress, who would inspire him and help him to develop himself as a person. Carlo’s experiences during war vary from love of the brotherhood of the soldiers to the point were war was nothing but a sick form of total annihilation; “…who has frozen to death?..
. how many swollen fords must we cross today, with the frost fettering water gripping our testicles until they ache and scream… ” Here Carlo represents the thoughts and feelings of those soldiers amoung him. War has shattered their hopes and desires for safety and basic warmth.
Louis de Bernieres decides to make a specific chapter later on in a diary form. As if it were a diary of the soldier and we were there to watch what was happening. Here we are able to know some more things about Carlo, as he tells us that he belong to the Julia division.Not only that, but he relates the difficulties of war and the several drastic mistakes, but he also shows his disinterest for fighting, “”these are the days of white death.
You can notice that the Italians are fighting with absolutely no ideals and for no reason. Furthermore this has been read after Carlo’s death. One may say that it is written from beyond the grave therefore the impact on the reader is greater and provokes a sense of unjust loss, as Carlo was a ‘good man’. Carlo is a man of great strength yet admires his comrades for their individual traits and key charactersists.For instance he describes how he got to meet Corelli and it is obvious he admires him, since he considers him a “small miracle.
.. a source of optimism, a clear fountain, a kind of saint, a man of honour. ” He sees every individual soldier as people and not as a force who is made to fight a war. Carlo also describes the beauty of Cephallonia, in a way that agrees with the doctor’s apparently biased and exaggerated descriptions in his writing; “..
. the light is so pellucid, so pure, that one is temporarily blinded and over whelmed…
… before it rains light is like mother of pearl”This clearly highlights the fact the Cephallonia is such a striking place that even the words chosen by Carlo are embellished enough to mark its beauty.
He also points out what good human beings the islanders were and how they made him feel ashamed of invading their marvellous island and for being Italian. To conclude I feel Louis de Bernieres portrays a story of war and people, to be one of horrific events which change the lives of millions across the world. By the different viewpoints used and range of opinions exposed we gain a small incite into the possible cross section of what tim back then.I feel the author has used many characters to represent nearly all types of people in the world and the way they respond to war makes us realizes how horrendous events such as this actually are. The novel in general ironically links back to the title in more ways than just one. ‘Captain Corelli’s Mandolin’ relates to the instrument the captain played.
He played this in times of enjoyment and pleasure. The beautiful sound causes a result of harmony and peace. This is ironic as the novel itself is set at a time of war.Bernieres tries to convey as message that even in times of total hell and destruction people will somehow find some way of finding peace.
Also the author maybe trying to say that we don’t realize how lucky we are to be this way today. We have lost the true meaning of life. During times like the war people found pleasure from small things such as the mandolin and now we over look that and don’t realize how simple tranquility can be gained even at worst of times.
In addition to this the title links into a chapter where, Antonio gives a description of how lovely mandolins are and how similar they are to woman, referring to Pelagia.He expresses his love for both Pelagia and his mandolin, which he calls Antonia as a way of giving it a more live nature. He wonders how someone so marvelous as Pelagia can be made of flesh and how mandolins can be made out of wood.
He expresses how he feels he and Pelagia are like brother and sister before Greek and invader and remarks how similar a mandolin is to a woman in both the anatomical and sexual aspect. Even though the title has different meanings and relates to the novel in more ways than just one, Louis de Bernieres manages to compare and contrast love and war within one novel.