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From your reading of 'Captain Corelli's Mandolin' how appropriate is the musical reference in the title?

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From your reading of 'Captain Corelli's Mandolin' how appropriate is the musical reference in the title? Louis de Bernieres' 'Captain Corelli's Mandolin' explores a multitude of different themes such as conflict, love, history and morals. Music is a universal form of entertainment, expression and catharsis, and de Bernieres incorporates it and its qualities into his novel in an extremely subtle yet hugely complex way. Music has always, in the history of literature, been a device that allows authors to explore themes of love and passion, as William Shakespeare wrote, "If music be the food of love, play on". It has also proved to be a prominent use of expression in all forms of conflict and war, when Chile was governed by a military dictatorship (1973-1990) Patricia Vertugo, a journalist, spoke to a group of Chilean physicists and said "What is happening can be measured in music. The only way we have of communicating is through music. We can't talk about politics; they don't allow us to hold meetings. But if I hear someone listening to music, I know who that someone is and that's enough for me to know that that person is with me." It becomes a voice for the people that cannot be hushed. With Captain Corelli's Mandolin the reader is instantaneously made aware of the subject of music through the title, and as soon as passion and love begin to become prominent in the novel, music does the same. ...read more.


We can see that the spontaneity which he sees in Pellagia and which he incorporates into his music is something which attracts and moves him greatly. The Italian soldiers have obviously been influenced by Corelli's behaviour as they are aware of the German's position through uniform but do not think to be threatened or to be prejudice, because he is seen as a fellow human being, in the same position as them and probably hating it just as much as they are. If Correli was a 'traditional' soldier his men would be expected to have very different views on or at least act differently, towards members of different country's armies, especially in times of war. As time goes on Gunter begins to see how music gives the Italian army the vital ability to persevere, and how they see music as being as much of a victim of war as any human involved, as it is essentially denigrated in terms of traditional priorities and it, like them, has become constricted. Eventually he sees to what extent their music is part of them when they are stood in front of his army's firing squad, and they one by one begin to sing directly at the face of death. "Corelli felt strangely euphoric, as though drunk on fatigue and the infallible excitement of certainly. Why not smile in the face of death? ...read more.


The discovery also induces hope for the re-building of the country after the earthquake as it provokes the feelings of optimism that it once gave so many. "He heard a melody begin to rise up in his heart, something joyful that captured the eternal spirit of Greece". He is instantaneously reminded of the connection he formed with the country, and although not a native he holds an important place for the times he spent there. Music, once again, builds bridges, for both Correli and Pellagia. In the last chapter of the novel the two are once again united. Considering the huge gap of time between their parting episodes and their eventual reunion moment, the bond that still exists between them is still very much alive and strong. Such a quick reinstatement of their feelings would not have been a possibility if it weren't for the music which had become a form of metaphorical glue between them all those years ago, when war threw them together and music bound them. Music plays such a large part throughout the novel that any reference to it is relevant. It effectively forms a foundation for the range of emotions that the book fundamentally builds on. The reference in the title to the mandolin itself can at first seem a little off the point, considering that Correli himself does not enter the novel until chapter (twentysomething), but it is essentially that mandolin that in a thick fog of death and hate, takes two people, and makes something beautiful. ...read more.

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