Captain Corelli’s Mandolin

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin Chapter 70 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
By the time Iannis is five, he can say "hello" and "isn't he adorable?" in six languages because he spends so much time with Pelagia at the taverna. Alexi and Antonia, meanwhile, invest in building more apartments and opening souvenir shops in a number of towns. Iannis secretly keeps score of how many beautiful foreign women have kissed him. When Iannis is ten, Pelagia hires a bouzouki player named Spiridon. He plays with such spirit that even the stony-faced Germans dance. Both Pelagia and Iannis worship Spiridon; he reminds Pelagia of Corelli.
Spiridon's resemblance to Corelli again proves Dr. Iannis's assertion that history very nearly repeats itself, as it allows her to relive parts of her youth. Iannis's choice to keep track of his kisses suggests that he already understands the power of making connections with people; in this case, he gets tipped for it.
Themes
History and Storytelling Theme Icon
Politics and Friendship Theme Icon
Secretly, Iannis wants to become one of the many young Greek men who entertain foreign girls and have lots of sex. He yearns for sexual maturity and notices that women love Spiridon, so one day he asks if Spiridon will teach him to play the bouzouki. Spiridon suggests that Iannis learn the mandolin, as Iannis isn't big enough to play the bouzouki. Both Antonia and Alexi agree to buy Iannis a mandolin in Athens or Naples when they're there next, but they promptly forget. Pelagia suggests that they dig up Corelli's old mandolin.
Antonia and Alexi's treatment of their son only makes the novel's assertion that chosen family is more reliable than blood family seem more true, as Pelagia--who isn't related to Iannis by blood--is the only one who is truly willing to help him obtain a mandolin. The connection between relationships and music is also reinforced here when Iannis understands that music is a way to impress girls.
Themes
War: Horror, Beauty, and Humanity Theme Icon
Family, Opportunity, and Gender Dynamics Theme Icon
Alexi refuses to send construction workers to the old house, so Iannis pesters Spiridon to help him. They arrive at the site and look at the rusted communal oven, the broken stones, and the deserted village. Iannis explains that he comes here when he's angry or unhappy, and Spiridon points at the ancient olive tree. The two swing on a branch and then get to work in the rubble. Spiridon finds a used condom and attempts to sidestep a conversation about sex with Iannis. Over the next two days they clear a space over the trapdoor and Iannis starts a pile of treasures, including a photo of two "funny drunks" and a complete photo album.
When Iannis and Spiridon swing in the olive tree, they do just what Mandras did decades ago. This continues to bring the story back around to its beginning, as does the pile of treasures. When Iannis takes these treasures back to Pelagia, she'll be able to bring the occupation to life for him and teach him more about his history, while also revisiting that time for herself.
Themes
History and Storytelling Theme Icon
Spiridon attempts to open the trapdoor but it won't budge. He realizes he'll need a crowbar when Velisarios, now 78, catches them. Iannis tells Velisarios what they're doing and notices that the old man has a red rose with him. Velisarios puts the rose by the olive tree and tells Iannis that under it is buried a huge Italian man. Iannis is exhilarated and secretly wants to dig up the skeleton, but Velisarios insists that Carlo deserves his rest. Spiridon expresses doubt that Velisarios can open the trapdoor, but Velisarios lifts it easily and leaves.
The revelation that Velisarios brings the roses every year begins to call the existence of Corelli's ghost into question as well, as Pelagia seems to believe that the ghost and the rose are part of the same supernatural being. Velisarios's insistence on continuing to honor Carlo shows just how close the two men became and offers another look at a type of chosen family.
Themes
Power, Reality, and Absurdity Theme Icon
Family, Opportunity, and Gender Dynamics Theme Icon
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Everything inside is in perfect condition. Spiridon and Iannis find a German gramophone, a big crocheted bedcover, Italian writing, a rifle, and a beautiful mandolin missing a few strings. Spiridon tells Iannis that the mandolin is extremely valuable, but Iannis isn't paying attention. He waves around Mandras's rifle and pulls the trigger. Iannis is so surprised and scared when the gun goes off and kicks back into his forehead, he bursts into tears.
Iannis's experience with Mandras's rifle again makes it very clear that weapons and explosions are never benign or simply fun: they have the power to hurt people and scare them, just as the mine hurt so many villagers and Italian soldiers instead of providing simple entertainment.
Themes
War: Horror, Beauty, and Humanity Theme Icon
Power, Reality, and Absurdity Theme Icon