Il Gattopardo: the Throes of Modernization

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  • Topic: Italy, Giuseppe Garibaldi, Sicily
  • Pages : 3 (974 words )
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  • Published : February 24, 2006
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The Nineteenth century was a time of major changes and a critical moment in the history of Italy. It was the time of the Risorgimento, the campaign for the unification of Italy and it was a long and complicated process. Lampedusa's "The Leopard" gives a spacious perspective into this revolution and gives us insight of the state of marriage, religion and politics within the Sicilian society. Lampedusa exposes the life of The Leopard and how he and his people reacted to the Risorgimento. He states that many of the institutions in Italy have become empty vessels, used as a form of power and as a means of gaining wealth and social status. Though The Leopard did not want change, it had to come; Italy would not survive without it.

The Leopard's reaction at the time of Italy's Risorgimento and his reaction to the changes he sees in his society was mainly that it was inevitable, indeed necessary, but still in some ways an unwelcome displacement of the aristocracy from their established position. The Leopard's nephew had a different reaction, "Unless we ourselves take a hand now, they'll foist a republic on us. If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change." He knew that they must accept the movement in order for the monarchy to survive and for the aristocracy to keep power in Italy.

The Leopard's authoritarian temperament, a certain rigidity of morals, and a propensity for abstract ideas; had changed respectively into capricious arrogance, recurring moral scruples and contempt for his own relatives and friends, during this time of rebellion. Although The Leopard realizes that nothing will be the same for him or his family, he is serene throughout Lampedusa's novel. Though many of his family members and friends support, even temporarily, the revolution, The Prince never bickers with them. He accepts that change will happen and he keeps his discontent with the rebellion to himself.

As we can see, The Leopard was interested in the affairs of...
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