Captain Corelli’s Mandolin

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin Chapter 34 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
For Hector, being taken to task by Lieutenant Colonel Myers for "misdemeanors and atrocities" has happened so many times, it's become a game. All he has to do is act ignorant, insist he can't sign anything until a runner is sent to Athens, and blame the disappearance of that runner on the Italians, the Germans, the peasants, or the British. Mandras stands outside while Myers reprimands Hector, marveling at the height and the paleness of the British soldiers. Mandras believes the British are dumb because they mispronounce Hector's name as "My Sector;" in truth, they call him that because Hector just repeats, "this is my sector" when they catch him.
The fact that Mandras doesn't get that the British nickname for Hector is an exasperated joke betrays one of the consequences of his lack of education. Because of the power that he and Hector have due to their association with ELAS, Mandras is unable to see that in actuality, ELAS looks ridiculous. This allows the reader to sympathize with Mandras, as it implies that he's unwittingly caught up in something he doesn't understand.
Themes
War: Horror, Beauty, and Humanity Theme Icon
Power, Reality, and Absurdity Theme Icon
Politics and Friendship Theme Icon
Myers sighs at Hector as they go through their usual song and dance. He lists the crimes that ELAS committed in the past week, all of which Hector insists he didn't do and then explains why he was forced to do it. These include castrating, killing, and then cutting smiles on the faces of peasants who stand up to ELAS, as well as keeping peasants from purchasing food from EDES. Hector insists he'll need to send a runner to Athens before he can sign any agreements and exits the tent.
The crimes that ELAS committed illustrate how horrific war and power can be in the hands of people like Hector, who care only for themselves and their cause. This also implies that the peasants that, in theory, ELAS should be helping will always be less than human to ELAS as it allows them to justify committing atrocities.
Themes
War: Horror, Beauty, and Humanity Theme Icon
Power, Reality, and Absurdity Theme Icon
Hector tells Mandras that the British are fascists and suggests they go teach the villagers who tattled on them some lessons. They laugh about the women, who they believe deserve to be raped since they're traitors. In his tent, Myers thinks about evacuating, since the higher-ups don't believe that ELAS is going to start a civil war and he feels like he's wasting his time. One of his soldiers comes to tell him about blowing up a bridge, and Myers mentions that Hector is awful. The soldier notes that the awful ones always end up as leaders.
Given the other horrendous leaders the novel has already offered, the soldier's comment about awful people becoming leaders suggests that a necessary quality for those leaders is charisma and the ability to manipulate friendless people like Mandras. Myers's thought about evacuating also shows that nobody higher up truly cares about Greece; in the grand scheme of World War Two, it's meaningless.
Themes
War: Horror, Beauty, and Humanity Theme Icon
Power, Reality, and Absurdity Theme Icon
History and Storytelling Theme Icon