Captain Corelli’s Mandolin

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin Chapter 24 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Carlo arrives in Cephalonia in the middle of May to join the Acqui Division. He's disillusioned, depressed, and still grieving Francisco, and is saved only by Corelli and the peaceful beauty of the island. Corelli is a consummate jokester, loves children, mocks General Gandin, and loves to make ladies blush. He runs the opera group La Scala, which performs every morning in the communal latrine to minimize the embarrassment of having no privacy. When Corelli overhears Carlo singing one morning he "drafts" him into La Scala with a faux official order from the supreme commander of the Italian forces.
Carlo's description suggests that Corelli heightens the absurdity of the war to make it more manageable and enjoyable for himself. La Scala in particular suggests that he's capable of taking something inhumane and uncomfortable and making it hilarious to distract from how awful it is. Further, Corelli's willingness to use an "official" order for the La Scala drafts implies that he doesn't take the military seriously at all.
Themes
War: Horror, Beauty, and Humanity Theme Icon
Politics and Friendship Theme Icon
Carlo is struck by the clarity of the light, the ancient olive trees, and the dignity of the islanders. According to Corelli, when the Italians asked the Greeks to surrender at the town hall in Argostoli, the Italians' written requests for surrender were answered with several obscene notes. The Greeks eventually asked to surrender to a German officer, so the Italians flew one in and felt utterly humiliated. Corelli finds the story endlessly amusing. Carlo notes that this is because the only things Corelli took seriously were music and Pelagia. Carlo fell in love with him regardless.
Again, Corelli's ability to respect the Greeks for their cheek and find this situation funny shows that he sees the Greeks as humans first and foremost, and conquered people second. The Greeks' ability to humiliate the Italians also makes the Italians remember they're human, which places the two sides on slightly more equal footing.
Themes
War: Horror, Beauty, and Humanity Theme Icon
History and Storytelling Theme Icon
Politics and Friendship Theme Icon