, written by Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis
was first published in Brazil
. Like The Posthumous Memoirs of Bras Cubas
and Quincas Borba
, both by Machado de Assis, it is a masterpiece
of realist literature
. It is written as a fictional memoir
by a distrusting, jealous husband. The narrator
, however, is not a reliable conveyor of the story as the story is a dark comedy
. The author is considered a master of Latin American literature
with a unique style of realism.
Machado de Assis was fascinated with the theme
, and many of his novels are built on this intrigue. One of his most popular ones, Dom Casmurro
, is still widely read in Brazilian schools. The volume reflects Machado de Assis' life as a translator
, and also his influence
realism, especially Honoré de Balzac
, Gustave Flaubert
and Émile Zola
. In the novel, he also refers to Much Ado About Nothing
, The Merry Wives of Windsor
, Romeo and Juliet
, and most importantly, Othello
Here, Machado de Assis shows a different version of the classical one of adultery: the story is told through the eyes of Bento (Bentinho), the betrayed husband. Throughout the story, the character narrates the betrayal of his beloved Capitu (Capitolina, in allusion to the Roman emperor Capitolinus), a version of Desdemona, who, according to him, cheated on him with his best friend, giving birth to a son that only later he found out to be not his. However, the facts that he shows as proof are very flimsy, and could easily be interpreted as paranoia. It could be all in his imagination, though the narrator hardly considers this an option. It is a tale with an unreliable narrator, so the reader never has a direct answer to whether Capitu cheated him or not, and the outcome is still one of the major ones among Brazilian literature fans and critics. The Brazilian writer Dalton Trevisan once noted that, that Dom Casmurro is not to be read as the story of Capitu betraying Bentinho.
Another measure of the writer's literary achievement is given by the more profane conclusion that, were Capitu and Bento to go to court, neither would be able to win solely on the basis of details comprised in the novel.
A re-imagined Dom Casmurro was written by Lygia Fagundes Telles
and her husband, Paulo Emílio Salles Gomes, in 1969. It is called Capitu (after the female character from Dom Casmurro),and is a film scrip.
- Dom Casmurro at MetaLibri (PDF eBook)
- ''' on Capitu screenplay