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Madrid, A World Full Of Illusions (“The Capital

1057 words - 4 pages

Madrid, A World Full of Illusions ("The Capital of the World") At the very close of "The Capital of the World," Hemingway states that his character, Paco has died, "as the Spanish phrase has it, full of illusions." This phrase, one might contend, could serve as a summary of the tumultuous forces that guided Paco's life to its very sudden and tragic end. Paco is a character who comes out of the poverty and destitution of a small village to work with his sisters in a restaurant in Madrid. Immediately, we find out that Paco has a great deal of love, "he loved his sisters, who seemed beautiful and sophisticated; he loved Madrid, which was still an unbelievable place, and he loved his work, which, done under bright lights, with clean linen, the wearing of evening clothes, and abundant food in the kitchen, seemed romantically beautiful." This idea of love and romanticism is prevalent throughout the story, as we see Paco, more and more as a character who becomes taken over by the images of his surroundings.Through the progression of the story, we find out that Paco wants to be "a good catholic, a revolutionary, and have a steady job, while at the same time, being a bullfighter." These aspirations might seem a little far-fetched, but normal for a boy his age, but Hemingway crafts the story in such a fashion, in which we, as readers, are made to believe that Paco was so intoxicated by the images of romance around him that he had no choice in any of his actions, and this romanticism led inevitably to his demise. And it is ironically through the restaurant, the place where he went to avoid poverty and destitution, where he meets his end. There he was engaged and entranced by the lives of the mystical figures that lived at the Luarca. There, Paco saw what he wanted to see. He saw the beauty and passion of a revolutionist, the swagger of brilliant matadors, the reverence and respectability of priests, and the life of a modest worker. Here Paco, begins to taint his own version of reality, imagining, very unrealistically, that he could be like those mystical figures that he admires so much.Paco's naivete is what prevents him from seeing deeply into any of the images that impress and amaze him. This naivete and innocence lets him believe that everything is perfect for everyone. And the only way to make it more perfect would be to make himself a matador. Paco sees the false images of love, successfulness, happiness, and courage and imbibes them as true. The false images of love are represented through prostitution and the ill matador's advances on Paco's sister. The image of successfulness is presented by the matadors who, swagger in public, but, in actuality, are all suffering physically, mentally, or by falling out of favor with the public. Even one of the matadors, had clippings of a review of his spectacular performance, but ironically, could not comprehend the article because he could not read. Here, Hemingway presents these...

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