What are the themes in The Corsican Brothers?

Themes in The Corsican Brothers by Alexandre Dumas include the irrational, prideful nature of vendettas, the differences between brothers (i.e., the development of individuals apart from family and environment), and self-sacrificial love.

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Alexandre Dumas's novella The Corsican Brothers tells the story of twins Lucian and Louis and the culture of vendetta in which they have been raised. The idea of a vendetta is one of the story's primary themes. The leading families of Corsica enter into feuds almost at the drop...

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Alexandre Dumas's novella The Corsican Brothers tells the story of twins Lucian and Louis and the culture of vendetta in which they have been raised. The idea of a vendetta is one of the story's primary themes. The leading families of Corsica enter into feuds almost at the drop of the proverbial hat, and these feuds turn violent in a hurry. That is why they all live in highly fortified houses that are scarred by bullets.

Lucian takes Dumas with him when he goes to mediate one of these feuds. It started over a chicken, and the families are highly unwilling to settle, even though Lucian manages to guide them into an agreement. But one gets the feeling that it will not last. One little offense will cause the whole thing to flare up again. At the heart of these vendettas, of course, is pride. No one can stand to bear even a small insult or even a small perceived insult. People would rather fight than appear humiliated.

A second theme in the story is the difference between brothers. Lucian is very much a part of the Corsican culture. He is quick with a gun and quite fiery in temper. He is proud of his home and family. Louis, on the other hand, is a scholar who has no experience with or desire for weapons or fighting. In fact, he is currently studying law in Paris. These two young men are identical twins. They were even conjoined at birth. They grew up in the same place and the same family. Yet they are extremely different in their individual personalities and interests.

Even so, when Louis is challenged to a duel by a man who is trying to take advantage of the woman Louis loves, Louis accepts the challenge. He is still Corsican in blood, and he is willing to sacrifice himself for the lady's honor. Here is another theme: the self-sacrificial nature of Louis's love. Louis is killed, of course, and even though he has a letter sent to his family saying that he has died of brain fever, Lucian knows it isn't true. He feels Louis's death in his own body, and he immediately heads to Paris to settle the most important feud of his life. He avenges his brother's death.

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