Captain Corelli's Mandolin - NZ Herald
From close study of these to chapters from Captain Corelli's Mandolin what do we learn of the relationship between Dr Iannis and his daughter Pelagia? The key. A. The relationship between Pelagia and Doctor Iannis is the key relationship. It's very sweet. They have a lot of respect for each other but it isn't based on who's. Antonio Corelli - Nicolas Cage Pelagia - Penelope Cruz Dr. Iannis - John and the Allied forces advance on Greece, relationships are thrown.
In the years immediately preceding the war, the young males of all combatant countries were conscripted for military service, although individuals could volunteer first, as Mandras definitely does. Corelli and Weber, as officers, may also have chosen to join rather than be conscripted later as enlisted men, and Carlo probably volunteered for the army as being a preferable all-male environment. The slaughter of the Italians by the German army in Septemberthe dramatic heart of the novel, is entirely historically accurate and was one of the most horrific events of the war.
Here, however, considerable caution should be exercised in evaluating those passages in which de Bernieres fictionalises the thoughts and actions of historical personages in real historical events.
The Greek Civil War The monarchy in Greece was already unpopular for having supported the semi-fascist dictatorship of Metaxas for some years prior to the outbreak of war; the Communists ELAS played a dominant role in the organisation of resistance to the occupation, but certainly spent more of their time and energy fighting against the rival monarchist force EDES than against the occupiers, despite the best efforts of British Special Operations Executive SOE agents to make them work together.
At the end of the war, the king returned, with the direct support of Winston Churchill, the British Prime Minister, but probably against the wishes of the majority of the population.
The second civil war broke out in and lasted untilwhen the Communists were finally defeated; it was marked by extraordinary brutality on both sides.
It remains a very bitter and divisive subject in Greece to this day, not least because, after a democratic interlude, a right-wing military dictatorship again ruled in Greec between andand a stable democracy was only achieved after itrs overthrow. Answered Wed 22nd May, The novel paints an attractive picture of the traditional life of a Greek island village, especially just before the outbreak of war. On the whole, de Bernieres gives a reliable and fair impression of this society, although the authenticity of a number of details has been challenged.
It is important to be aware of, and to evaluate, the ways in which the author has used this social structure to give a framework of values and expectations for the characters and the action.
To enable the reader to get the full picture and flavour of the Mediterranean setting, and to appreciate some of the ironies and anomolies of the behaviour and beliefs of certain characters, below are some general points to bear in mind, some of which apply to Italian as well as to Greek society, and many of which still apply today in the Greek islands.
Mothers and Sons This is regarded as the strongest bond in the Greek family, and has religious echoes of the Madonna and child. Mothers traditionally forgive their sons anything, and take their side against anyone.
Drosoula, unusually, always wanted a daughter. Mandras commits suicide after his mother, not Pelagia, rejects him; her curse is unexpected, unbearable, and the equivalent of withdrawing his right to life.
Daughters and Dowries Girls were not considered to be equal with boys and the father was offered commiserations instead of congratulations for the birth of a female child. For this reason the dowry system existed, whereby a daughter had to have something to offer her prospective husband as well as herself. If a sum of money was not forthcoming, then at least a plot of land or a herd of goats would be expected, as well as a set of hand-embroidered household linen.
Dr Iannis refuses to provide Pelagia with a dowry, which causes consternation to Mandras and provokes his need to prove himself a hero. Women at that time could not expect to become self-supporting financially by training for a career or taking work outside the home.
Men, on the other hand, tended to be defined by their job, e. Pelagia, who retains her virginity throughout the book, represents the island of Cephallonia and Greece generally; her sufferings, losses and violations are theirs. Though unmarried, she becomes a mother and grandmother. Her name refers to a saint who was a virgin of Antioch and whose name day is 8th October.
When Mandras goes off to fight against the Italians in Albania, he worships the conflated female images of Pelagia, the motherland and the Virgin. Village life on the beautiful hillside of Cephallonia revolves around a harmonious natural existence of living off the land and sea by fishing, growing herbs and olives, and keeping goats and poultry. The rythms of the seasons are celebrated and punctuated by ritual feasting and dancing, wine and song.
This way of life, unchanged since Homeric times, is destroyed forst by the German occupation and then by the earthquake. Finally, the islanders become dependant on the gods of commerce and tourism. He is a quasi-mythological figure in the novel, agelessly enduring all seasons and all changes.
Saints and Superstitions Greeks take their many saints very seriously as a latter-day replacement for the ancient pantheon. Every church is dedicated to a particular saint and each village or island has a local saint whose relics or icon are believed to be capable of working miracles, as in the case of St Germasimos. All orthodox Greeks must be baptised and given the name of a saint.
Dr Iannis, with his healing gift, is a saintly figure throughout the novel because of his wisdom, tolerance and martyrdom. Other miracle-performing or heroic characters also play saintly roles. Generally, the Greeks could be described as a superstitious people — for instance, they believe in the Evil Eye — who attempt to ward off misfortune or attract fortune by the performance of gestures, the utterance of set phrases, and the use of particular greetings for specific occasions.
Thereafter, a seemingly endless succession of less civilised foreign armies claimed and robbed the cradle of democracy and learning. However, because there is a theory that there are two aspects to the psyche of every Greek — the Hellene who respects reason and the Romaios who lets the heart rule the head — civil war could be viewed as an inevitable eventual consequence, and a horror even more destructive than an external threat.
As Dr Iannis says: Now we have only ourselves to blame. Burial and Resurrection Since ancient times, funeral ritual and a belief in the afterlife has been sacred to the Greeks.
The most important event in the Greek religious and family calender is Easter, the celebration of the Resurrection, and the phoenix, a mythical, immortal bird which arises anew from its own ashes, is a potent literary and political symbol adopted by the Greek dictatorship of — Various characters, alive and dead or presumed dead, come back from the grave or make a ghostly reappearance in the novel, thereby acquiring mythical status.
August and October These two months, referred to many times in the novel, are significant for Greece generally and for Cephallonia in particular. The two feast days of St Gerasimos occur in August and October, and 28th October is the date on which Metaxas in effect declared war on Italy. The feast day of the Virgin Mary is on 15th August, and the earthquake occured in August These two months act as a framework for all the personal and historical anniversaries which lend structure to the novel and to the memories of the characters.
Honour and Shame Philotimo, love of honour, is a revered and ancient heroic concept in the mind of Greeks, the other side of the same coin being shame. Fighting for your country, for instance, is honourable, but betraying your friends is shameful. Dr Iannis and Corelli follow a personal code of honour which prevents them from committing an unworthy act, whereas Mandras must die for bringing disgrace on his mother, and Weber is treated with contempt for his treachery.
Corelli’s Mandolin Reader’s Guide
An honourable death is distinctly preferable to a shameful life in Mediterranean cultures. Corelli shows how he would have faced death honourably in his message to Appollonio and his demeanour in the face of the firing squad.
Sea and Mountain These are the twin features of island and mainland coastal landscape in a country which has few rivers or forests but is famously beautiful. The images of sea and mountain occur repeatedly in the Bible, in Greek Orthodox rites and in classical and modern Greek poetry, song and drama.
Corelli's Mandolin by Louis de Bernières
The mountains are the home of the Olympian gods, and the frontier for the defence of the homeland. Greeks have regarded themselves as a sea-going nation of adventurers and fishermen since before The Odyssey, and have respect for the mystical significance of the ocean. Both sea and mountain have their part to play in the novel, personally and politically, repelling or bringing invaders, and associated with life and death.
In this he does no mre than reflect the reality og life in Greece then and now: Classical myths, until comparatively recently, formed a common body of knowledge for all educated Europeans, along with familiarity with latin and Ancient Greek language. This showed them how much they had in common despite the temporary divisions imposed by war, and they went on to become lifelong friends.
Dr Iannis makes extensive reference to Greek mythological characters throughout the novel. It is not necessary to know the myths referred to in any detail, though it is useful to know what each god represents see list of mythological characters.
The end of the novel has a metaphorical depiction of the Three Fates of classical Greek mythology. He gives further historical points on the pretext for the invasion of Greece by Italy on page Men such as Iannis and Carlo would be easily forgotten in a macro approach to history such as big battles, kings and leaders, events style history.
History is made up of the doings of the ordinary as well as the great! Iannis becomes conscious during the Italian invasion that he is living through history: Madness The yearly miracles of St Gerasimos and the focus on the mad on his feast day s.
He raves after his experience of war when he returns to the Island. After Mandras arising from his bed. Education was not open to them and a life of marriage including hard, grinding work as well as bearing children was all that they could look forward to. Wife-beating was also common. Although several women are strong: Only education, trade and wealth would be a way out of this. See the theme of Education.
Women without husbands or sons are vulnerable to mistreatment on the Island. This is a predicament Pelagia faces later in the novel. See also the notes on Pelagia on Ch. You are the first woman I have ever known who knows anything.