Captain Corelli’s Mandolin

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin Chapter 6 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Carlo says he found his family in the army. There, he was immersed in a male-dominated world and didn't have to flirt with women. At first, he's sent to Albania. Carlo is transferred from unit to unit and marches around for seemingly no reason, but finally he lands in the Julia Division. There, Carlo discovers the joy of being a soldier. He explains that soldiers love each other in a way entirely different from any other kind of love--they become intimately knowledgeable about each other and are there to support each other.
At this point in Carlo's military career, war is beautiful exactly because he gets to experience the kind of relationships with men that he's always dreamed of having. This shows how the friendships that soldiers form as they unite to work towards a common goal allows them to create some of the strongest friendships possible.
Themes
War: Horror, Beauty, and Humanity Theme Icon
History and Storytelling Theme Icon
Politics and Friendship Theme Icon
Related Quotes
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The one thing that spoils this is that none of the soldiers knows why they're in Albania, and plenty of soldiers, including Carlo, are communist and don't feel good about rebuilding the Roman Empire. He feels haunted by the sneaking suspicion that his cause is pointless, especially when Count Ciano golfs and Mussolini shoots cats. Carlo insists he's not a cynic, but he does know that whomever wins the war will get to say how things happened. He knows too that Mussolini has made it clear that the Greek campaign was a win for Italy, but Carlo says this is a lie. Carlo suggests that history should only consist of anecdotes of the "little people who are caught up in it." For Carlo, the Greek campaign destroyed his patriotism and brought on the greatest tragedy of his life.
The fact that Carlo is aware of the ridiculousness going on at the top levels of the Italian government suggests that Mussolini isn't as good at controlling the press as he'd like to believe. It also shows that Carlo knows how to think critically about things and is willing to believe what he sees around him, not what his leader tells him to believe. His statement that history should be written by "little people" shows him making the same realization as Dr. Iannis did that history is innately personal.
Themes
War: Horror, Beauty, and Humanity Theme Icon
Power, Reality, and Absurdity Theme Icon
History and Storytelling Theme Icon
Politics and Friendship Theme Icon
Related Quotes
Blue quotation bubble icon linking to an important quote associated with this summary and analysis.
Carlo explains that Socrates said that the genius of tragedy is the same as in comedy, but that the comment isn't explained in the text. However, Carlo says that what happened in Greece illustrates the truth of Socrates' statement. He begins by admitting that he fell in love with Francisco. Francisco was gorgeous and smiled constantly. Francisco wasn't secretive about the fact that he despised Mussolini and mocked him incessantly. He adopted a mouse named Mario who lived in his pocket.
By invoking Socrates, Carlo is able to assign his experiences and his writing a deeper meaning than if they stood alone. Again, this shows how he relies on the stories of others to construct his own. Francisco's behavior indicates that it's not just possible to hate Mussolini; it's possible to mock him openly without being punished--proof that Mussolini isn't as powerful as he'd like to think.
Themes
Power, Reality, and Absurdity Theme Icon
History and Storytelling Theme Icon
Carlo admits that the soldiers knew nothing about what was going on at the top; all they knew was that their orders often contradicted each other. However, he says there were definitely clues that they'd be ordered to invade Greece: they built roads leading towards Greece, and he doesn't believe that the Greeks killed the Albanian Daut Hoggia. He explains that he learned from Dr. Iannis later that Hoggia was no patriot; he was a murderer, a thief, and a rapist. Carlo explains that what follows is an account demonstrating that the Italians started the war, not the Greeks. If the Italians lose, his writings might tell the world the truth.
Carlo's closing statement here indicates that he understands clearly how history works: the winners get to say exactly what happened. This means that his writings could someday become dangerous for a number of reasons as he'd be contradicting the "official" story as well as admitting his sexuality to a regime that wasn't friendly towards gay people. By insisting that this be read after his death, Carlo then ensures that his words are more impartial.
Themes
History and Storytelling Theme Icon
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