Captain Corelli’s Mandolin

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin


Louis De Bernières

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Captain Corelli’s Mandolin: Chapter 72 Summary & Analysis

At age 14 in October of 1993, Iannis goes up to the old house to play his mandolin in private. He's startled when an old man with a strange accent interrupts his practice to tell him he's doing something wrong. The man repositions Iannis's fingers and says that he's been a professional mandolinist for most of his life. Iannis asks the man to play and offers him the mandolin. Iannis listens in disbelief as the man plays but suddenly, the man stops short and says that the mandolin is his Antonia. Corelli realizes that Iannis's grandmother is Pelagia.
When Corelli and Iannis meet each other and are able to make the connection to Pelagia because of the mandolin, it stands as a final example of the ways in which music can bring people together and help them form relationships. Corelli's appearance also makes it clear that whatever ghost Pelagia saw wasn't real; rather, it's something she let herself believe to help herself feel better.
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Corelli asks if the mandolin had missing strings and tells Iannis that the strings are in his ribs. He says too that the buried skeleton is Carlo, who saved him from a firing squad. Iannis is deeply impressed. Corelli asks after Pelagia and Iannis's grandfather, which Iannis finds confusing. He explains he has no grandfather. As Corelli and Iannis head down the hill together, Iannis falters and asks if Corelli is the ghost.
The way that Corelli speaks to Iannis suggests that his love for children hasn't at all diminished over the years; he's still as enchanted by them as he always was. By playing to Iannis's childishness, Corelli is able to bring the past to life for him and help him learn about Pelagia in a new way.
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