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A Story of Love and Courage

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A Story of Love and Courage

Love is a very powerful emotion. It provides people with courage and causes them to act bravely. To have someone to love, and therefore someone to act bravely for, makes one capable of more than expected. Love leads to bravery and can get people through terrible times. In the movie Life is Beautiful, director Roberto Benigni shows the quality of bravery through the experiences of the main characters as they attempt to survive a concentration camp during World War II. When Guido Orefice, an Italian Jew, arrives in Arezzo, he meets Dora, who comes from a wealthy Italian family. Even though she is engaged, she falls in love with Guido, and they marry and have a son, Giosue. At Giosue’s fifth birthday, Guido and Giosue are taken by Nazis to a concentration camp, and Dora insists on voluntarily going with them. At the camp, Guido convinces Giosue that everything is just a game, and he will earn points towards winning a tank. Unfortunately, when Guido goes looking for Dora, he is caught and shot to death by a Nazi soldier, but Giosue and Dora survive. Love is a powerful emotion which leads to acts of bravery, that people perform, even when they are scared. This is shown by Dora’s love for Guido and Giosue, by Guido’s love for Giosue, and by Guido’s love for Dora.

Undoubtedly, Dora loves her husband and her son with all her heart; she shows courage when she runs away with Guido, and later again when she volunteers to join Guido and Giosue at the concentration camp. Dora is in a relationship for years with a man she doesn’t love. Then, she meets Guido and she knows at first sight that she wants to be with him. At her engagement party she runs away with him, and follows her heart for the first time in her life. Dora shows that she can be brave when she leaves her fiancé together with his wealthy and seemingly perfect lifestyle. Dora is brave because of her love for Guido. She knows that she makes the right decision by leaving her fiancé; now she can have a beautiful life with Guido. They marry, have a son, Giosue, and live happily until Guido and Giosue are taken to a concentration camp. When Dora finds out where they are taken, she again shows courage when she insists on going onto the train to the concentration camp with her family, even though she’s not Jewish. She risks her life to be with her family, because she loves them, and she makes it bravely to the end.

Furthermore, when Guido and his son are taken to the concentration camp, Guido risks his life for Giosue by pretending that the concentration camp is a game. Since the day they are taken to the camp is Giosue’s birthday, Guido tells him that this train ride is part of a vacation he has planned for this special occasion. By telling Giosue that the camp is a game where one can win a real tank, Guido only wants to protect his son. Many times Guido risks his life by making the game look real for Giosue, so Giosue doesn’t have to suffer from the fear of getting killed like the other children. For instance, on the first day at the camp a Nazi soldier asks if there is someone who knows German to translate. Guido volunteers even though he does not know German. He ‘translates’ the soldier's instructions so that they sound like the rules of his imaginary game. Giosue’s eyes light up when he hears that the prize is a real tank, and this is why Guido continues to appear happy and enthusiastic about the game. Guido risks his life to make the concentration camp a better place for Giosue, and all that is needed to act as bravely as he does is the love for his son.

Even though it’s very dangerous, Guido’s love for Dora leads him to risk his life again and again; he gives Dora signs that he and Giosue are alive, and eventually he goes looking for Dora. At the concentration camp the men are separated from their women, which makes it more difficult for the victims. When Guido is supposed to be working he finds a loudspeaker and tells Giosue to come with him. Bravely, Guido turns on the loudspeaker and his voice is heard throughout the camp, “Bongiorno Principessa… You are all I think about,” (Beautiful) he says, and Giosue yells, “Mama! Papa wheels me in the wheelbarrow, but he doesn’t know how to drive. We laugh like crazy” (Beautiful). Guido risks his life by doing this, but his love for Dora is stronger than his fear from the Nazi soldiers. Later, Guido finds a record player and a recording of the opera that he and Dora saw together in Italy. Then, he plays it out the window so that Dora can hear the melody. Doing these little things for Dora give her hope, and make life at the camp easier. Eventually Guido dresses up like a woman and goes looking for Dora; he gets caught and shot dead. Even though it did not turn out well, Guido shows immense bravery because his love for Dora is strong enough to sacrifice himself.

To summarize, all of the characters show courage when confronted with a challenge, because their love for each other is stronger than their fear of possible death. First of all, Dora does something unbelievably brave; she volunteers to go to the concentration camp with her family even though she’s not Jewish. Her love for her husband and her son is enough for her to risk her own life. Secondly, Guido has such affection for his son that he does everything he possibly can to protect him. He convinces Giosue that the entire camp is a game at the end of which the winner receives a real tank. Guido shows some true courage by doing this for Giosue. Thirdly, Guido’s love for Dora is incredibly strong, so he risks his life by trying to find her. Nevertheless, when Guido goes looking for her, he gets caught and is shot to death by a Nazi soldier. Only Dora and Giosue survive the camp. In this movie, love is a powerful motivator for the characters; their brave acts are done for love. Anyone can give up, but these characters unconditionally love each other. They are brave in their efforts to protect their loved ones; they jeopardize their own life for the people they love.

Work Cited
Life is Beautiful Dir. Roberto Benigni. Perf. Roberto Benigni, Nicoletta Braschi, Giorgio Cantarini. Miramax Films, 1997. Film.

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