Who Are The Victims In "Captain Corelli's Mandolin"?

3106 words - 12 pages

War is a prominent theme in Captain Corelli's Mandolin. This force damages and destroys lives creating a number of victims along the way. A victim is a person killed or injured as a result of an event, circumstance or in pursuit of an object or in gratification of a passion. There are a number of victims in the novel but not all of them are destroyed by war.The megalomaniacs are those crave power and domination; they are the commanders and instigators of the war with little regard for human life. The main identifiable megalomaniac is Benito Mussolini, the Italian dictator. He is disliked by everyone, including his own soldiers and is loved only by himself: as De Bernieres himself said, "Almost everybody in that book is motivated by love, even Mussolini, who loves Italy and loves himself". Mussolini is first presented to us in a chapter entitled: "The Duce". De Bernieres chooses to write this chapter using stream of consciousness which highlights Mussolini's self-centeredness and the theme of misplaced power. Two other megalomaniacs in the novel are Hitler and Metaxas although they play a much less prominent role. A certain amount of responsibility for the events of the war in Cephallonia, the Greek island on which Captain Corelli's Mandolin is set, lies with Hitler, but he is not really involved until late in the novel when the German troops receive a direct order from "the Führer". Metaxas, however, is far more concerned with his troublesome daughter than with invading enemy nations:"Metaxas...reflected bitterly on the two imponderable problems of his life: 'What am I going to do about Mussolini?' and 'What am I going to do about Lulu?'"Metaxas is much more human than Mussolini as he cares for his family and his country. By contrast, Mussolini is vain, hypocritical and corrupt:"Which is my best profile, right or left?...fetch me some mirrors so I can see for myself.";"They don't call me the unsleeping dictator for nothing", "I'm going to go and lie down, it must be way past siesta time.";"I want to arrange some attacks against ourselves. Our campaign requires legitimacy."The reader is manipulated into their individual impression of these characters as De Bernieres creates contrasting pictures of Metaxas and Mussolini in their own chapters and later on by the atrocities committed by the Nazis.Although Metaxas does choose to go to war against the fascists he becomes a victim of the war when the Italians and the Germans occupy Greece. Mussolini is a victim of himself, his army's incompetence and the ruthless and untrustworthy Nazis. We know from history the fate of Hitler - a victim of his own dreadful success.We only ever get to know one Nazi as a character in the novel. This is Gunter Weber, the "Good Nazi". This use of language could be interpreted in two ways: firstly it could be read as a man who is good at being a Nazi; or as a Nazi who is good at being a man. To an extent, Gunter is both, however the conflicting ideals that arise...

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