Captain Corelli’s Mandolin

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin Chapter 57 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
That evening, Velisarios stops when he notices Carlo's body. He thinks it's improper to leave Carlo there and so picks him up. He notices Corelli underneath, still alive. Velisarios takes him to Dr. Iannis. The narrator notes that between four and nine thousand Italians were massacred in Cephalonia that day. Alekos looks down from the mountain and notices fires. When he smells burning hair, he wonders if it's the end of the world. The Germans do their best to burn all the bodies and pile ancient olive trees on the pyres.
The decision to move Carlo shows that Velisarios also learned that the Italians were true friends and are now worthy of a proper burial by respectful friends. When Alekos wonders if the world is ending, it shows that some of the atrocities of the war do actually reach someone who is mostly separated from it, reinforcing the horror and the consequences of the war.
Themes
War: Horror, Beauty, and Humanity Theme Icon
Politics and Friendship Theme Icon
When Father Arsenios learns of the massacre, he feels responsible. He approaches one of the fires and preaches loudly and angrily. Nobody listens. Arsenios begins to beat German soldiers with his staff and the Germans halfheartedly defend themselves. Finally, an officer shoots Arsenios and throws him on the pyre. His dog remains nearby until the Germans leave and the surviving Italians and a few Greeks approach. They try to remove the bodies from the edges to bury them properly and wonder if this is what it's going to be like under the Germans. The next night, they return to the pyres to find more bodies to bury.
Father Arsenios's sense of responsibility for the dead Italians indicates that while he tormented them during the occupation, their kindnesses towards him and willingness to listen to him had a profound effect on him. They were, in other words, part of his flock just as the Greeks were, which allows him to feel responsible for the fact that he wasn't around to protect them.
Themes
War: Horror, Beauty, and Humanity Theme Icon
History and Storytelling Theme Icon
Politics and Friendship Theme Icon
Weber nearly goes mad, especially since the Germans start to make Italian officers load their dead boys onto trucks and then shoot the officers. A rumor circulates that St. Gerasimos got up and wandered, as the nuns find him in the morning with tears on his cheeks and blood on his slippers.
The rumor about St. Gerasimos reinforces that the tragedy is so great, it's nearly supernatural and affects even dead religious figures, just as it now affects and scares Alekos.
Themes
War: Horror, Beauty, and Humanity Theme Icon
Power, Reality, and Absurdity Theme Icon