Essay about Mario and the Magician

1412 WordsOct 2, 20056 Pages
Mario and the Magician – Illness and Deformity In Thomas Mann's "Mario and the Magician," Mann uses illness and deformity to symbolize the driving force towards disaster. It is in the illness of the characters that the setting for disaster is made, which then beings on a downward spiral once the character of Cipolla enters the story. Cipolla is not only mentally ill, but he is deformed. Much of his deformity is left a mystery for it is described so vaguely by the narrator. The first episode of illness starts with a whooping cough. After the whooping cough episode, another display of illness, not only physically but also in regards to the illness of character, is a child with "disgusting raw sores on his shoulders" (Mann 534). Shortly…show more content…
The narrator describes him as having "outdid anything I have ever seen for ill-breeding, refractoriness, and temper and was a great coward to boot, putting the whole beach in an uproar, one day, because of his outrageous sensitiveness to the slightest pain" (Mann 534). This sensitiveness to the slightest pain that the narrator describes occurred when the boy was pinched by a sand-crab, which for a doctor had to be fetched. The narrator continues to describe the boy as "prominent among the influences that, imperceptibly at first, combined to spoil our holiday and render it unwholesome" (Mann 535). Again, this is where the narrator makes a direct connection to illness and the disaster that become of the story. Lastly and most obviously, disaster is at the hands of the character of Cipolla. After even just the events prior to Cipolla's entrance into the story, the narrator remarks that he should have left Torre and "thus escaped that fatal Cipolla" (Mann 537). Much of how Cipolla's deformity relates to the tragedy of the story is not directly stated; however, it is quite obvious. The details of Cipolla's deformity are left vague. The narrator first explains that "There was something not quite in order about his figure, both front and back" (Mann 541). Then, Cipolla himself reasons that he has "a little physical defect which prevented [him] from doing [his] bit

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