Captain Corelli’s Mandolin

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin Chapter 58 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
When Velisarios kicks Dr. Iannis's door open, Pelagia thinks it's the Germans. She's shocked to see Velisarios. Velisarios deposits Corelli on the table and Corelli weakly greets Pelagia. She runs for the kapheneia and bursts in, the first woman to set foot inside. The men all look at her disapprovingly, but she drags Dr. Iannis home. He's immediately concerned about how much blood there is and suggests it'd be kinder to kill him. Velisarios lifts Pelagia when she starts to beat at her father's chest.
Pelagia's willingness to invade a male-only space shows that with Dr. Iannis's education and her love for Corelli, she now recognizes that the lines themselves are ridiculous and meaningless when a person's life is at stake. The men's disapproval, however, foreshadows the difficulties Pelagia will face in the future as she continues to transgress these lines.
Themes
Politics and Friendship Theme Icon
Family, Opportunity, and Gender Dynamics Theme Icon
Pelagia boils water, tears bandages, and shouts at Dr. Iannis when he suggests he's not qualified. He's too intimidated to resist again. He discovers that Corelli has six bullets in him and a nasty cut on his cheek. He knows that he doesn't have the proper equipment to locate the fragments of bullets and uniform that are surely inside, but decides to proceed. When Dr. Iannis discovers that the bullets aren't that far under the skin, he realizes that Corelli may live. Dr. Iannis gives Corelli morphine and alcohol and yells at Pelagia to wash her hands and attend to his face.
When Pelagia shows herself capable of intimidating her father, it shows that she's beginning to come into herself and when someone she loves is at risk, she's more than willing to step outside of what she's supposed to do to make things happen. Dr. Iannis makes sure she realizes this won't be easy when he asks her to participate with the surgery.
Themes
Politics and Friendship Theme Icon
Family, Opportunity, and Gender Dynamics Theme Icon
Soon, Pelagia realizes how horrific this surgery is going to be: Dr. Iannis cuts wide holes around the bullet wounds and tells her to do the same. When he extracts the first bullet and notices how flat it is, he asks rhetorically how Corelli is alive. Velisarios explains that Carlo stood in front of Corelli. Pelagia and the doctor cry, and Velisarios decides to go back for Carlo's body. Pelagia feels as though she's in a nightmare as she and Dr. Iannis discuss whether to sew up the bullet crease on Corelli's cheek or let it heal on its own. Velisarios returns with Carlo's body, binds his shattered jaw, and digs a grave under the olive tree. The narrator notes that Carlo is buried in the soil of Odysseus's time.
Noting that Carlo will be buried in Odysseus's soil suggests that Carlo's final resting place is one where he was always meant to be, given that the ancient Greeks accepted gay men. When the surgery feels absurd, Pelagia realizes that it's a normal human reaction to try to turn the horror into something else entirely; it's the only way that she can protect herself from the trauma of seeing Corelli so damaged.
Themes
History and Storytelling Theme Icon
Politics and Friendship Theme Icon
Related Quotes
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Just before dawn, Dr. Iannis and Pelagia bury Carlo. Dr. Iannis puts silver coins on Carlo's eyes and puts a bottle of wine in the grave, while Velisarios gives Carlo a cigarette. Dr. Iannis delivers a eulogy praising Carlo's goodness, strength, and kindness.
Dr. Iannis's eulogy reinforces the fact that he learned to see Carlo as a friend and a fellow human, not just as an invading Italian.
Themes
History and Storytelling Theme Icon
Politics and Friendship Theme Icon
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