Captain Corelli’s Mandolin

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin Chapter 28 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Mandras joins a small guerilla group with no plan or purpose. They spend months living in a cave stirring up small-scale mischief. When they're forced to move, however, they come into contact with organized guerilla groups. EDES is led by enthusiastic Brits; one is a thinly disguised communist group called ELAS. ELAS's agenda has more to do with seizing power after the war than helping with the war effort. The British officers at the top don't believe the reports that ELAS is trouble, so the group is allowed to do what it wants. Simply because ELAS is the first group that Mandras encounters, he joins it. Its leader, Hector, sees that Mandras is lost and impressionable.
The way that the narrator describes ELAS suggests that those at the top of the group recognize that once either the Axis’s or the Allies’ power topples at the end of the war, there's going to be a power vacuum--and they intend to fill it. This automatically casts the group in a suspicious light given that they're unwilling to help the war end and save the lives of thousands of people. Like Mussolini and Hitler, ELAS is selfish.
Themes
Power, Reality, and Absurdity Theme Icon
Politics and Friendship Theme Icon
In the days before Mandras meets Hector, he dreams of Pelagia. One evening, ten ELAS men surround Mandras and his group. Hector tells the group that they either go home and leave their weapons or join them. Mandras and his group decide to join, so they follow Hector to the nearest village. There, Hector has an old, shirtless man brought out of his house, hands Mandras a knotted rope, and tells him to beat the old man. Hitting the man becomes easier with each lash, and Hector offers pointers.
This incident confirms that ELAS is an evil organization: asking Mandras to beat this man for seemingly no reason shows that the group thrives on violence, power, and dehumanizing others. In doing this, Mandras also becomes less human as he must see the man differently in order to continue to do so.
Themes
Power, Reality, and Absurdity Theme Icon
Politics and Friendship Theme Icon
Then, Hector gives Mandras a pistol and tells him to shoot the man. Mandras kneels, puts the pistol to the man's head, and reasons that he's just the executioner; Hector is truly the guilty one. When he pulls the trigger, he discovers that the gun wasn't loaded. Hector helps Mandras to his feet and they head off. Mandras asks what the old man did. Hector explains that the British drop supplies to ELAS and EDES, one of the other guerilla groups, and this man reported the drop and then got drunk on dropped whisky. He incredulously remarks that the man is a Royalist and therefore "identifies with his oppressors." Mandras is a Royalist, but he nods in agreement. He listens to a young woman screaming and thinks that if he doesn't think about what the sound is, it's beautiful.
By shifting the blame in his head to Hector, Mandras continues to dehumanize others as well as deny his own humanity. This is reinforced when he disassociates the sound of the woman screaming with what it actually is. This suggests that dehumanization can, in some cases, be beautiful as well, but this suggests that Mandras will suffer as a result of getting sucked into this power vacuum and exposed to this kind of dehumanization.
Themes
Power, Reality, and Absurdity Theme Icon
History and Storytelling Theme Icon
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