What are the themes of The Corsican Brothers?

The themes of The Corsican Brothers include the individual versus society, fraternal love, and social unity versus fragmentation.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The Corsican Brothersof the title are not simply brothers, or even simply twins. The two young men were born conjoined twins and separated in infancy. This tight biological bond has not prevented them, however, from becoming distinct individuals. One main theme that Alexandre Dumaspère explores in the novel...

Unlock
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

The Corsican Brothers of the title are not simply brothers, or even simply twins. The two young men were born conjoined twins and separated in infancy. This tight biological bond has not prevented them, however, from becoming distinct individuals. One main theme that Alexandre Dumas père explores in the novel is the distinction between the individual and society. As they grow up, the boys are strongly influenced by the toxic environment of endless family feuds or vendettas throughout their native Corsica. Each must decide for himself what he believes about the appropriate course he should take as well as what is best for society overall.

Closely related to the question of individual personality and responsibility is the affection that the youths feel for each other. Dumas presents each one as symbolic of a certain perspective on social action but still deeply aware of the connections between them which remain unbreakable. The hot-headed man of action, Lucien, has remained at home in Corsica, while the scholarly, reflexive Louis has studied abroad. When a question of honor arises, however, Louis lays down his own life in a fatal duel.

Lucien’s personality continues to influence his approach to social behavior. Ironically, after losing his brother, he becomes even more firmly committed to the avenging mentality because his motivation for revenge is more personal than ever.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on