Viola d’Ondariva/Sinforosa Quotes in The Baron in the Trees
But he restrained himself, because he didn’t like repeating the things that his father always said, now that he had run away from the table in an argument with him. He didn’t like it and it didn’t seem right to him, also because those claims about the dukedom had always seemed like obsessions to him...
During Cosimo’s first meeting with Viola, the neighbor girl, Cosimo wants to impress her—but he also doesn’t want to look silly and like he’s obsessed with titles and glory, like Baron Arminio is. This challenge thus becomes a major turning point for Cosimo, as he must figure out who he wants to be when he’s on his own and not simply learning to value what Baron Arminio and the rest of Ombrosa’s nobility value. Biagio’s aside that Cosimo thinks the dukedom sounds like an obsession suggests that Cosimo is a wildly individualistic person, at least when it comes to separating his identity from his family. Were his family to acquire the dukedom, it would eventually fall to Cosimo to be the next duke—something that, even as a child, Cosimo knows he’s not interested in doing. Even this early on in the novel, then, it’s clear that Cosimo is willing to risk angering his family and alienating himself from them if it means he is able to form his own identity and live authentically.
He saw her: she was circling the pool, the little gazebo, the amphoras. She looked at the trees that had grown enormous, with hanging aerial roots, the magnolias that had become a forest. But she didn’t see him, he who sought to call her with the cooing of the hoopoe, the trill of the pipit, with sounds that were lost in the dense warbling of the birds in the garden.
“Why do you make me suffer?”
“Because I love you.”
Now it was he who got angry. “No, you don’t love me! One who loves wants happiness, not suffering.”
“One who loves wants only love, even at the cost of suffering.”
“So you make me suffer on purpose.”
“Yes, to see if you love me.”
The baron’s philosophy refused to go further. “Suffering is a negative state of the soul.”
“You reason too much. Why in the world should love be reasoned?”
“To love you more. Everything increases its power if you do it by reasoning.”
“You live in the trees and you have the mentality of a lawyer with gout.”
“The boldest enterprises should be experienced with the simplest heart.”
He continued to spout opinions until she ran away; then he, following her, despairing, tearing his hair.