Captain corellis mandolin.

Essay by Aly_KHigh School, 12th gradeA+, October 2005

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One of the characters who we meet in the first chapter of the novel is Dr. Iannis. He stands out from the other people mentioned in it and strikes as being an interesting person. Some of the devices used to illustrate this character are connected with him use of language and the narrative method (omniscient narrator mixed with doctor's own speech). By these a lot of things are suggested, told and implied about the character, such as his level of education, the way of thinking, the importance of his island's past for him.

First of all, we find out about Iannis being a doctor. He is intellectual, well qualified for his job, seems to be a good specialist. We see this from the medical terminology that he (or the omniscient narrator) uses: "aural orifice", "exorbitant auditory impediment", and "supererogatory occlusion". Dr. Iannis also chooses formal and detached language rather than a more conversational vocabulary: "importunate and unduly", "obdurate and recalcitrant", "kudos", "mollify".

Thus he wants to appear educated and to be respected because the other islanders - Stamatis and his wife seem to be much less educated and do not always understand what he is talking about. By using this kind of language Iannis maintains medical authority. It is also a strong measure of his characterization which shows his qualities: intellect, medical expertise, relationship with others on the island.

Despite the respectful characteristics presented above, the doctor is not an absolutely serious character. There is often some irony in his words, which is often "apparent only to himself", such as when he talks about getting away from "un embarras de petit pois" with a Parisian accent. Also when Pelagia's goat eats his papers, he does not complain or threaten her, but just "remonstrates", calls the animal not silly, but "an accursed ruminant". This also shows close relationship with his daughter - he is quite patient with her. Even when he tells her "you will not argue with me", we do not imagine his tone to be very angry. So, along with good education and qualification Dr. Iannis has quite an ironic way of thinking, is rather funny than absolutely serious and is a caring father.

Later on in the chapter we discover that the doctor not only cures people, but also has a passion for writing history of his island. We learn about him both from what he writes in the history and from the way he writes it. He knows a lot about the past of the island; the classical allusions that he refers to such as the cult of Ancient Greek gods and its role for the islanders. More important still is his narrative. He writes passionately, puts a lot of feelings and emotions into it. His narrative is subjective and he changes the book's title into "A Personal History of Cephallonia". As the narrator points out, he has strong opinions about his homeland's past and that it was "impossible to write it without the intrusion of his own feelings and prejudices". There is a lot of personal bias in his "History", he tries to present the island in a very positive way. Here the language also plays a role: instead of just saying that Cephallonia is old, Dr. Iannis writes that it is "immense in antiquity" and that its earth carries "the impossible weight of memory". Instead of calling it light, he says that its light produces "overwhelming clarity of focus", that it has "heroic strength and brilliance". Such strong descriptions are also used to tell about other things, such as the ocean and the pines. This choice of words and some metaphors even give a feeling that the island is somehow mysterious and unrealistic, a really special place. The language and the narrative here show that he is very proud and very fond of the island and its past.

It can be concluded that the language and the narrative in the chapter present Dr. Iannis as an educated person, a kind of leader amongst the islanders and at the same time he is quite funny, likes to use irony. He is not only a good doctor, but also quite a talented writer who knows a lot about his island's past. He writes about it passionately, it is important for him. Overall, he is a versatile character which makes him interesting.