Captain Corelli’s Mandolin

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin Chapter 56 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Weber requests that his mission be assigned to someone else. The major is incredulous but isn't angry; he hopes that he'd do the same in Weber's position. They argue over whether or not the Italians are traitors, and finally, the major wins by reminding Weber that the penalty for refusing to obey is death by firing squad. He tells Weber that the Italians are going to be shot whether he does it or not and chooses not to record Weber's resistance in his file.
Though the major suggests in several roundabout ways that he recognizes the humanity of Weber and of the Italians, he ultimately convinces Weber by impressing upon him the importance of living, even if one has to commit atrocities against one's friends in order to do so.
Themes
Politics and Friendship Theme Icon
Corelli sits in a truck with his boys and encourages them to sing. Carlo begins to sing "Ave Maria" and then another La Scala member begins a song from Madama Butterfly. The truck reaches the brothel and Weber's knees nearly buckle; he hadn't thought that the Italians would arrive singing a song they'd once sung together. He's shocked when Corelli waves. Weber approaches Corelli and Carlo and offers them cigarettes. Carlo refuses the offer and when Weber coughs, jokes that Weber shouldn't pass on a cold. Weber trembles and asks Corelli to forgive him. Carlo sneers that nobody will, but Corelli says he does. He shakes Weber's hand and then links arms with Carlo.
Corelli's kind treatment of Weber shows that he recognizes that Weber is a kid caught up in a truly horrific political system that prioritizes loyalty over humanity; he's doing what he believes he needs to do to survive. By offering Weber his forgiveness and being so kind, Corelli implies that he hopes Weber will take this lesson to heart in the future and make better choices to prioritize life, love, and friendship.
Themes
War: Horror, Beauty, and Humanity Theme Icon
Power, Reality, and Absurdity Theme Icon
Politics and Friendship Theme Icon
Family, Opportunity, and Gender Dynamics Theme Icon
A Croatian tells Weber that they have to kill the Italians quickly, as more are coming soon. When Weber gives the order, most of the Germans aim high or wide. The Croatian aims to kill and Weber watches his friends flail and die. He doesn't see Carlo step in front of Corelli and hold Corelli's wrists so that the bullets don't hit him. Carlo takes bullet after bullet before finally flinging himself backwards. Corelli is dumbfounded and doesn't hear the German sergeant's command for any Italians still alive to stand. Weber kills those who stand and then checks the rest. He meets Corelli's eyes but doesn't shoot. Corelli realizes he's struggling to breathe because some of the bullets went through Carlo and into his own body.
By sacrificing himself for Corelli, Carlo shows that he hopes this act of kindness will enable Corelli to go on and continue this legacy of saving others. Carlo also ensures that he's going to die for love by doing this, which given his focus on love and friendship, will make him feel as though his final act is a worthwhile one. Weber's decision to allow Corelli to live shows that he's not all bad, though he still fears what will happen to him if he were to help Corelli in any other way.
Themes
War: Horror, Beauty, and Humanity Theme Icon
Politics and Friendship Theme Icon