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Discuss the author's depiction of the love of Carlo for Francesco

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Discuss the author's depiction of the love of Carlo for Francesco Carlo finds his ideal of homosexual love described in Plato's 'Symposium', which is ironic to Carlo as he says, because he is invading Greece, Plato's homeland, at the time. This fact also reminds us of the way homosexuality can be seen differently in different times and places. In ancient Greece males married females but had male lovers too. 'The Symposium' by Plato states that "an army should be made up of lovers and their loves" in order to make them fight more effectively. Carlo reveals that "[he] would be ennobled by this love" this shows that ironically Carlo's love for Francesco is destined to be 'Platonic' as he is inexperienced and physically unrealised and that he believes in the fact that "love alone" will be enough to give him the encouragement to fight. But, Carlo also shows that his great endurance for gaining "esteem and honour" is a "wild idea, romantic and implausible," however, "it worked." It also shown that his great need for love and becoming "an inspired hero" led to nothing but "incalculable grief." This hints to the reader to anticipate tragedy. Carlo's attention to Francesco is also based upon another 'Platonic' idea, the attraction of the lover to someone who complements, makes up for some kind of lack in oneself. Carlo makes many comparisons between himself and Francesco mainly in chapter 6. Carlo says, "[Francesco's] skin was darker than [his]," this makes Francesco sound more physically attractive than Carlo. ...read more.


Carlo shows a great awareness of how he would be seen in the eyes of society. He thinks that the chaplain would say that it is a 'perversion, an abomination in the sight of God' this shows the social status of homosexuals during the war and that it was not as widely accepted unlike today whereby more people accept homosexuality as 'normal'. The reader is also told that Carlo thinks that he would not have been a homosexual if "God had not meddled with him in [his] mother's womb." This helps the reader to try to accept Carlo for what he is and not judge him. It also emphasises that he has not chosen to be a homosexual and that if he could change his sexuality he would. Carlo tries to tell the reader that "[he] is not a misogynist" and for him to have a male partner is as 'normal' as it is for a heterosexual male to have a female partner. He also says "the company of a woman is painful which shows his homosexuality is not just a matter of physical taste but a choice between men and women in all their aspects. He also reveals that as a young boy he had to "flirt with girls," this reveals that he felt, even as a young boy, unable to make choices and had to do things in order to stop society from talking about him. All of this repression of his true sexual orientation has made Carlo "more lonely than it ought to be possible to feel." ...read more.


However, some may feel that Carlo is being too noble and should tell Francesco's mother the truth about her son's death. De Berni�res shows the reader that Francesco and Carlo both like each other and feel that each would be a "better son" than the other to Francesco's mother. In Francesco's letter to his mother, Francesco uses many positive adjectives like, "good," "gentle" and "loyal." This shows that Francesco can see Carlo for his decent human qualities and that Francesco too enjoys the company of Carlo. The fact that we are never shown what Francesco thinks allows us to experience something of Carlo's enforced distance from Francesco. It also lets us wonder about what might have been. Francesco is capable of a homosexual relationship too, but is even more than Carlo, unaware of his real feelings. When Francesco is dying and tells Carlo that "[he] feels good with [him]." Francesco may not have said anything earlier because he was afraid of being rejected. However, Carlo shows nobility and love for Francesco when he "offers [himself] to their guns" to prevent Francesco from dying. I think that this is the greatest and most powerful gesture Carlo shows the reader to emphasise his love for Francesco. This shows that if Francesco had revealed his feelings earlier in the novel then perhaps he and Carlo may have had a relationship. Carlo sets out to be a hero and becomes one, but tragically has to suppress the expressions and emotions of his love to the extent of him "bursting with grief and bitterness" over Francesco's death. Name: Reena Harsiani English Literature Tuition Centre ...read more.

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