The Cephalonians begin taking advantage of the fact that the Italians can't read Greek and graffiti all manner of rude messages on buildings. Greek men in the kapheneia make rude jokes about the Italians and, in their camps, the Italians make rude jokes about the Greeks. The Italians feel guilty for invading Greece, while the Greeks are livid they've been invaded. Eventually, the Italians decide that they need to house soldiers with locals. Pelagia returns home one day to find an Italian officer, sergeant, and private in her kitchen. The officer smiles and Pelagia instructs them to wait while she fetches Dr. Iannis.
In the case of the graffiti, the Greeks are able to use their shared language to create a sense of solidarity and make the Italians feel like outsiders. In this way, the Greeks are able to gain a degree of power as well. Similarly, the fact that the Italians feel guilty for invading Greece in the first place shows that they believe invading Greece is improper, given that there is no cruelty or violence against the Greeks to speak of.
Dr. Iannis greets the officer in Italian and the two shake hands. The officer is thrilled to find someone who speaks Italian and suggests they could use a translator, but Dr. Iannis acidly refuses. He also refuses to house an officer. After a moment of awkward silence, Dr. Iannis asks if the officer is a quartermaster. The officer is and admits he has access to medical supplies. The men agree that an officer can stay on the premises in exchange for medical supplies.
When Dr. Iannis and the officer are able to strike this deal so quickly, it again implies that the Italians recognize that the Greeks are people who want to get on with their lives even with the war on their doorsteps. They feel they can make the invasion somewhat better by helping the Greeks in that endeavor.
When the Italians leave, Dr. Iannis and Pelagia vow to be horrible to their officer. Corelli arrives that evening, driven by Carlo. Both men are entranced by the massive olive tree and the quiet domestic scene. Pelagia stands in the doorway with a kitchen knife and Corelli falls to his knees at her feet. Carlo explains that Corelli is always foolish, and Pelagia finds herself smiling at Carlo, who is as big and looks as gentle as Velisarios. Corelli suggests he introduce Pelagia to Antonia as Dr. Iannis comes outside and curtly asks Corelli for a word.
Though Pelagia looks domestic, it's also telling that she's holding a knife and seems to not be using it to cook. This allows her to show the officers that she means business and isn't afraid of them, which is reinforced by her assessment of Carlo. Corelli's behavior again shows that he doesn't take the war seriously and would rather fixate on the beauty than the horror.
Corelli anxiously insists he was joking with Pelagia, but Dr. Iannis wants to know about a defaced Greek monument--it used to read "to the glory of the British people" and no longer does--and why Greek students must now learn Italian in school. Corelli is wildly uncomfortable and insists he's not responsible for either of these things.
Dr. Iannis makes it clear that the Italians are wrong to try to make the Greeks give up their history and their language-- two things that bind the people together. Corelli's discomfort once again suggests that he feels as though the war is misguided, but powerless to stop it.
When Corelli learns he's to sleep in Pelagia's bed, he briskly says he'll sleep outside and then request new accommodations tomorrow. Pelagia is alarmed; she runs to Dr. Iannis and asks how she's supposed to make Corelli feel horrible if he leaves. Dr. Iannis insists Corelli stay and cowed, Corelli agrees. He and Carlo stay for an uncomfortable supper and then Carlo drives away. At dinnertime, Dr. Iannis tells Corelli how to heal the hemorrhoids he knows Corelli has and doesn't invite him to the table until he and Pelagia have already begun eating. Dr. Iannis makes sure to point out that thanks to the Italians, the meat pie is meatless. After dinner, the doctor insists on going for a walk despite the curfew.
By making Corelli acutely aware of what the Italians are doing to the Greeks, Dr. Iannis doesn't let Corelli forget that whether he takes the war seriously or not, he's complicit in the violence and the damage the Italians are causing. This impresses upon Corelli the importance of going on to build up his personal relationships rather than his political theories or military prowess, as it's those personal relationships that will get him through the war.
Pelagia asks Corelli about Antonia. He explains that Antonia is his mandolin. He says he wants to be a musician, and Pelagia admits she wants to be a doctor. Later that night, Corelli yelps and comes into the kitchen to ask about the "weasel" on his bed. Pelagia tells him that she's a "Greek cat" named Psipsina. Corelli attempts to stroke Psipsina but she bites him. He feels foolish and unloved and lies on the floor until Psipsina abandons the bed.
Corelli's willingness to sleep on the floor until Psipsina moves shows that he is, at heart, respectful of the Greeks and remorseful for having to occupy their land. He recognizes that he's an outsider and therefore, has a responsibility to make the occupation as painless as possible for the occupied.