The Italian by Ann Radcliffe remains one of the most iconic novels in the history of literature. This book presents a romantic story between a noble Italian man named Vincentio Vivaldi and the lady Ellena di Rosalba. The story features the challenges that this love encounters in an attempt to end in a marriage union. The primary challenge portrayed is the fact that the Vivaldi family refuses to acknowledge Ellena as worthy of their son. The main problem in the whole story is the rejection of Ellena by the Vivaldi’s family. The conversation of Vincentio and Signora Bianchi in the second chapter of The Italian by Radcliffe is a crucial segment because it exposes the overall flow of the book, the major theme, namely inequality in the society, the love story and twisted characters of protagonists.
In the second chapter of the book under discussion, Vincentio takes a bold step to ask signora Bianchi for her niece’s hand in marriage. The chosen passage that highlights this meeting and conversation states that
She received him with an air of reserve, and some moments passed before he could recollect himself sufficiently to explain the purpose of his visit; yet this when he discovered it, did not apparently surprise her. She listened with composure, though with somewhat of a severe countenance, to his protestations of regard for her niece, and when he implored her to intercede for him in obtaining the hand of Ellena, she said, В“I cannot be ignorant that a family of your rank must be averse to a union with one of mine; nor am I unacquainted that a full sense of the value of birth is a marking feature in the characters of the Marchese and Marchesa di Vivaldi. This proposal must be disagreeable or, at least, unknown to them; and I am to inform you, Signor, that, though Signora di Rosalba is their inferior in rank, she is their equal in prideВ” (Radcliffe, 14).
The Italian bases its story on the theme of inequality in the society. The chosen passage presents this theme as depicted by the author. When Signora Bianchi responds to the request of Vincentio on whether he can get Ellena’s hand in marriage by stating the impending challenge of Ellena’s rejection by the Vivaldi family. Signora Bianchi already recognizes that the Rosalba and the Vivaldi family are worlds apart. She admits that the two families are not in the same rank. This acknowledgment reflects the major theme of the story. In fact, people classify their significance over others by considering family lineage, family power, and family position (Manza and Sauder, 71). She indicates that the only challenge that would arise in Vincentio’s attempt to marry Ellena is the unequal view of Ellena’s family. This aspect of inequality in the society is not valid due to its bases, hence its unfair nature. Accordingly, one should not be despised simply owing to their family name.
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Signora Bianchi further declares that different ranks are not what matters most, meaning that Signora di Rosalba has the same pride as that of the Vivaldi. This statement further indicates that all people are equal since they have the same pride and significance, revealing that it is unfair to think that some individuals deserve a higher status than others. In this passage, it is already evident that the love story between Ellena and Vicentio was going to experience a challenge and it would be premised on the family identity difference. In fact, this is the representation of Radcliffe’s expression of this theme in the entire book. For instance, at the beginning of the second chapter, Radcliffe uses a poem by viola to further this theme. The poem discusses unequal treatment of the subject by the people with whom she is living. These people cannot even allow her to stay with them in the main house but rather build her a small cabin by the gate. She also has to obey instructions to work calls during the whole day and even in the night. Moreover, in other parts of this book, Radcliffe describes how Marchesa di Vivaldi works hard to ensure that her son does not marry a woman without a viable family history. The chosen passage, therefore, fully represents the central theme of the story and brings a clear understanding of unfair treatment in the society that Radcliffe is trying to stress.
This passage reveals the main plot of the story which is the romantic attraction between Vincentio and Ellena. It speaks of Vincetio visiting Signora Bianchi’s home to ask for Ellena’s hand in marriage. Herefore, even without considering any other discussions in the book, a reader already knows that there is a love story between Vincentio and a niece of Signora Benachi. One cannot come to ask for a marriage permission without genuine love attraction to the person he wants to marry. The text also shows that Signora Bianchi was not surprised when Vincentio finally explained his intentions for visiting. The absence of surprise shows that Signora Bianchi was expecting the visit and the agenda. Apparently, this reveals that there has been an undeniable and evident attraction between Vincentio and Ellena so that her aunt expected that at any time Vincentio would ask for Ellena’s hand in marriage. The lack of surprise further reveals the existing love story. The chosen passage, therefore, informs the reader that the book entails a strong story of love between Vincentio and Ellena, signora Benachi’s niece.
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Through this passage, the reader gets to understand that Ellena has no known mother and farther, which is a significant issue in the entire story. Through this passage, readers understand that Vincentio went to ask for the hand in marriage from a woman. However, the Italian tradition dictates that a man asks for a woman’s hand in marriage from the woman’s father (Dean and Lowe, 39). Readers also note that the person whose permission is sought is Signora Bianchi, an aunt of Ellena. Therefore, from this passage we are able to understand that if Ellena had a known mother and father, Vincentio would not have visited her aunt for such an important matter. The entire story bases the rejection of Ellena by the Vivaldi’s on the fact that she had no known family history. Ellena’s family history is revealed in the end of the book, and the Vivaldi’s permit their son to marry Ellena. Through this passage, one understands the major problem hindering the attempt to settle in marriage by Vincentio and Ellena, namely the fact that Ellena has no known family history.
This passage speaks much on the noble character of Vincentio di Vivaldi, who is the main character in the book. This chosen passage reflects a man who has moved beyond the unfair societal boundaries to fulfill the desire of his heart. The fact that Vincentio goes to ask for Ellena’s hand in marriage evidences that he does not consider himself better than Ellena. Further, he does not think Ellena is of a lower class and does not deserve him. Vincentio proves that family lineage, history, and financial position should not be a basis for deciding whom to marry or not. His character further suggests that such aspects need not decide the status and position of individuals in the society.
Vincentio’s character is further revealed when Signora Bianchi implies that she has no problem with him. Bianchi’s only concern is Vincentio’s father and mother and how they will handle the news. She is convinced of Vincentio’s integrity and is willing to give her permission since she has no problem with Vincentio. In fact, this further proves that Vincentio was noble and did not think the same as his family. The implied approval by Signora Bianchi in the chosen passage speaks of the noble character of Vincentio. The entire book expresses Vincentio as a noble young man who does not agree with his family’s view on things. He fights to the very end to ensure that his marriage to Ellena becomes a reality. He refuses opposition from the mother and takes a noble stand. Radcliffe uses Vincentio to further the theme that inequality need not be a consideration of the society.
The book in other texts further proves that Signora Bianchi was confident and trusting towards Vincentio. Radcliffe states that В“The ingenious manner, however, with which he at length did this, and the energy of passion too eloquent to be misunderstood, somewhat soothed the anxiety of Signora Bianchi, with whom other considerations began to ariseВ” (Radcliffe, 15). The chosen passage, therefore, speaks about the character of Vincentio as reflected in the entire book.
The chosen passage also conclusively underlines the theme of love knows conquers all, as presented by Ann Radcliffe in the book. Vincentio by the time he goes to ask for Ellena’s hand in marriage has no idea about Ellena’s biological parents. He, however, does not consider these bounds. He knows quite clearly the family he hails from, and who’s at their position would be but still goes ahead with his bid to marry Ellena. In the entire book, Radcliffe presents the theme that love conquers all, the book highlights the triumph that Ellena and Vicente finally enjoyed when they did not succumb to pressure and finally got married. This passage, therefore, reflects the triumph of love as shown in the entire book.
In conclusion, the book The Italian by Ann Radcliffe remains a significant literary work. Radcliffe presents the themes of inequality in the society and that of love that conquers all. The chosen passage for this essay significantly presents the entire flow of the story. The passage displays the theme of inequality in the society, as it reflects the different way in which the Vivaldi and Rosalba family statuses are viewed in the society. Signora Bianchi states in this passage that the two families are not in the same rank; a threatening aspect of their planned marriage. The passage also reveals Vincentio’s character as presented in the entire book. It speaks of the integrity and noble characteristics of Vincentio. The chosen passage further reveals to the reader the main plot of the story which is the love story of Vincentio and Ellena. By reading this passage, one is already illuminated on the romance plot of the entire book. This passage represents the main themes, characters, and plot of the book. By reading this passage, a reader can comprehend the flow, basics and mood of the story.
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