Dom Casmurro may be interpreted as narrator and protagonist Bento Santiago’s attempt to relieve himself of the guilt he feels for having destroyed his relationship with his wife and son and for the jealousy he came to harbor for his dead best friend. Relief of the guilt may come from earning the support of a sympathetic reader. It may also come, however, from Bento’s admitting, finally, that he was wrong. Though such an admission never occurs within the novel itself, it is possible to conclude that even Bento suspects the truth behind his sad story.
Bento opens his narrative by explaining that he was given his nickname, Dom Casmurro, or “Mr. Stubborn,” by a young man in his neighborhood. Boredom led Bento to write a book, and a rejection of other topics led him to write about his own life.
He begins his tale by returning to the day when his mother’s promise to God that her son would become a priest resurfaced, making an eventual separation from his childhood companion Capitú seem inevitable. This is more than Bento and Capitú can bear; at fifteen and fourteen years old respectively, they already realize that they love each other beyond friendship. A first kiss is exchanged, and several potential plans about how to keep Bento out of the seminary are hatched, but with the seminary looming, prospects are bleak.
Though Bento begins his studies at the seminary, he is released from his obligation when it is proposed that his mother’s promise can be fulfilled by supporting another young man with priestly ambitions. Bento now studies law and exchanges letters with Capitú through his friend Escobar, who, like Bento, had enrolled in the seminary only to leave for more secular interests. Bento receives his law degree, and he and Capitú are married.
Escobar marries Capitú’s friend Sancha, and the two couples are nearly inseparable. Bento adores Capitú, and...
(The entire section is 786 words.)