Essay on De Berniere's Presentation of Politicians in Captain Corelli's Mandolin

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De Berniere's Presentation of Politicians in Captain Corelli's Mandolin

In Captain Corelli's Mandolin, De Bernieres includes chapters which
are dedicated to Mussolini and Metaxas. He uses actual historical
figures alongside fictional characters to add a sense of reality and
to give the novel an historical aspect. De Bernieres presents both
politicians in a contrasting way. He introduces Mussolini who delivers
a dramatic monologue in chapter 2. The chapter satirises Mussolini's
character depicting him as a bad leader who has a love of violence and
an obsession with Hitler's Nazi regime. He is shown to be a
megalomaniac, incompetent, vain and ruthless. Metaxas on the other
hand is seen as a more pathetic figure, a sick and dying man but one
who is honorable and respected by his people.

Although there are only two chapters written on Mussolini in the
novel, he is referred to throughout the novel by other characters. In
chapter 2 Mussolini is shown to be vain and arrogant and obsessed with
mirrors and his appearance. He asks one of his subordinates, 'Now tell
me something; which is my best profile, right or left….. go and fetch
me some mirrors so that I can arrange to see for myself'. Because of
his small stature and his feelings of self importance, Mussolini feels
that he must always appear to be above the people and therefore
dispatches somebody to go around the city 'to find the best
balconies'. De Bernieres portrays his character quite accurately in
this respect. In reality, Mussolini had the power to censor the press
as he wanted the Italians to see him as a superhuman being. He
produced propaganda to promote the cult of 'Il Duce...

... middle of paper ...

...oing as he misses a meeting with the British minister.

De Bernieres shows Metaxas to be an honest and uncorrupted person and
research shows that he was looked upon to be a good prime minister by
the Greek people. 'Metaxas was an honest politician, you see. He was
never accused of corruption even by his enemies'. He seems to be
respected by the Greek people. His house is described as a fairly
modest 'pseudo-Byzantiane' villa. He never used state funds to
embellish his lifestyle as Ciano observes 'There could not have been a
man more different from the Duce'.

The main two political figures that De Bernieres includes in the novel
are shown to have contrasting characters, although the author
describes them in a humourous way which is quite far fetched at times,
he manages to show how futile the war and politicians are.

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