Themes

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Last Updated on March 3, 2022, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 198

Many themes are explored in The Italian, including romance, discrimination between social classes, and tragedy. As a gothic novel, The Italian includes the typical story elements that define the genre. That is, the hero must rescue the woman he loves by overcoming various odds. Despite the lovers being young, Vivaldi and Ellena showcase a love for one another that is not defined by prejudice or selfish ambition.

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One of the main conflicts of the story stems from a nobleman wanting to marry someone out of his social class. Despite the biases of his parents, Vivaldi is willing to defy societal expectations in order to pursue what he believes is right.

Tragedy plays a major role in the story and is mainly shown through Schedoni. Schedoni’s character progression is the most complex out of all the characters. His real identity is hidden for most of the story, and he nearly sets out on murdering an innocent girl until he sees that the girl may actually be his estranged daughter. He murders his brother in order to gain his possessions and wife, but his dying confession resolves the overarching conflict of the story, allowing Vivaldi to finally marry Ellena.

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Chapter Summaries

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Characters