Captain Corelli’s Mandolin

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin Chapter 14 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Emmanuele Grazzi explains that what he regrets most is learning the lesson that ambition can lead someone into a role that history will crucify him for. He says he had a great job as the Italian Minister in Athens and he had no idea war was brewing. Grazzi thought the rumors of war were jokes until Colonel Mondini met with an intelligence officer. The officer said that Greece and Bulgaria would be invaded in three days, but when Grazzi called Rome about it, officials said it was a lie. However, things continued to get fishier, and he believes the Greeks knew more about the impending invasion than he did.
Grazzi's narration illustrates just how powerless all of the Italian officials were because Mussolini was too intent on fabricating and maintaining his own power. Mussolini didn't let the officials do the right thing, as doing so would've jeopardized his power as an invader. Grazzi’s mention that he'll be crucified for his role in this again shows how the winners--the Allies--get to write history and simply vilify Grazzi, not just Mussolini.
Themes
War: Horror, Beauty, and Humanity Theme Icon
Power, Reality, and Absurdity Theme Icon
History and Storytelling Theme Icon
Finally, on October 26, Grazzi attended a party of Greek and Italian intellectuals, poets, and diplomats. He enjoyed it until the telegrams began to arrive for Mondini. Grazzi was embarrassed beyond belief. The next day, Mondini spoke with the Greek chief-of-staff about suspicious border incidents. The Greek knew the incidents were the fault of the Italians, but Mondini and Grazzi knew nothing. They discussed resigning with each other and assured concerned Italian delegates that they'd be fine. Later, the Greeks tried to evacuate the delegates, but the Italian air force bombed them. In the weeks after, Ciano effectively pushed Grazzi out of office.
Because Grazzi got caught up in Mussolini's web of power, he's discredited as a politician and as a friend to the Greeks he lived with. This shows how believing that one has to remain loyal to political leanings above all else has the potential to ruin lives--in this case, Grazzi doesn't even get to continue as a politician after this. The fact that the Italian air force bombs its own delegates reinforces the absurdity and nonsensical nature of the war.
Themes
War: Horror, Beauty, and Humanity Theme Icon
Power, Reality, and Absurdity Theme Icon
Politics and Friendship Theme Icon
Grazzi says the interview with Metaxas was the most painful occasion of his life. Metaxas greeted him in his nightgown and showed him to a sitting room. Grazzi notes that Metaxas was an honest politician; the poor quality of furniture betrayed that he didn't siphon funds to furnish his house. Mussolini's ultimatum asked Greece to allow the Italians to occupy Greece in order to fight Great Britain, assuring Metaxas that he's not the target. Metaxas cried, making Grazzi feel even more ashamed. Metaxas sighed that it's war, knowing that Italy would occupy Greece whatever he said. Grazzi tells the reader that this was Metaxas’s and Greece's finest hour, and Italy's worst. Metaxas died months later.
It's worth noting that in comparison to Mussolini, Metaxas does read as honest even if he admits to foul play. It's clear that Metaxas's goal is to protect Greece and the Greek people, not just to take over the world like Mussolini wants. This suggests that there's power and dignity to be had in standing up for one's own countrymen, which is what allows Metaxas to look so good in this instance. 
Themes
War: Horror, Beauty, and Humanity Theme Icon
Power, Reality, and Absurdity Theme Icon
Politics and Friendship Theme Icon