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Analyse how 'Captain Corelli's Mandolin' blends comedy and tragedy?

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Introduction

Analyse how 'Captain Corelli's Mandolin' blends comedy and tragedy? 'Captain Corelli's Mandolin' is a multifaceted novel that works on many levels: a love story, a war epic; and a deconstruction of just what determines the facts that make it into the history books. Set largely during World War II, Captain Corelli's Mandolin concerns the occupation of a Greek island, Cephallonia, by Italian troops. The writer with intent focuses on an 'insignificant' island beset by the larger problems of a world at war; de Berni�res has mirrored perfectly the connection of the minor details of individual lives with the great sweep of history, the minor with the Meta. De Berni�res has, thus, set up a microcosmic society. The novel says something profound about humanity and how cyclical history is without ever having to spell it out. Throughout de Berni�res' novel: there is a constant juxtaposition of comedy and tragedy. Much stress is placed on the fine line between the two: Comedy and farce rub shoulders with tragedy and horror. "Germany is taking everything, the Italians are playing the fool, the French have run away, the Belgians have been overrun whilst looking the other way..." ...read more.

Middle

Corelli contradicts fascism's uniformity and ridicules its quest for perfection, Corelli on the whole satirises the army. De Berni�res' amalgamation of tragedy and comedy is demonstrated in Chapter 43 "The Great Big Spiky Rustball". Once Corelli is made aware that there might be an unexploded mine about, the comedy sets in. Corelli is uses this opportunity as a theatrical publicity stunt to win over the respect of the locals, and ultimately impress Pelagia and her reluctant father. The farcical nature of this chapter acts well as a comic interlude. In this chapter a corporal explicitly points out the incompetence of Captain Corelli's plan to detonate the mine "the hole is in the wrong place". Ironically, the last sentence corporal utters is "a dead man can't press charges. If you want to die, OK, I'll watch". Captain Corelli persists with his plan, the consequences disastrous. After the 'sporcaccione' of an explosion, Corelli, who was lucky to have survived, is described as "indistinguishable from the wet sand because he was perfectly covered in it." The comic elements of the novels emerge here were the downright slapstick and the comic absurdity surface. The on looking crowd become aware of the presence of the corpse of ironically the smug corporal. The crowd are comically unaffected by the death. ...read more.

Conclusion

Without realising the group become separated. Captain Corelli and Pelagia find themselves separated from the other two. Corelli hears an anti-aircraft gun crack and thinks Pelagia is injured. Farcically, it had only been a thorn that had scraped her cheek, making her jerk her head back resulting in her hair getting caught on the briars. After helping Pelagia, Corelli plants a kiss on Pelagia's cheek, she starts to cry. Pelagia's tears roll down into the bucket where they had collected the snails. "You're drowning them" Corelli jokes, Pelagia begins to cry again. Pelagia's feels her nose begin to run and she describes her anxiousness that "she might leave mucous on the epaulette of his uniform" as they embrace. Pelagia sniffs harder in order to prelude this eventuality. The extract moves from the sublime to the ridiculous. Much emphasis is placed the simplicity of life on the island, there is a sense of joy in the everyday, a delight in the absurdities of normal domestic life, even under difficult circumstances. The transcendence of beauty, the nobility of the oppressed, the futility of war and the power of love, are the recurring themes throughout the novel. These themes surface throughout the novel, co-existing in the comic and the tragic scenes. ...read more.

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