Radetzky March Quotes

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The Socially Rigid Empire Towards the end of the nineteenth century, during the Battle of Solferino, the Austrian-Hungarian Empire was victorious over Napoleon's French Army; however, half a century later, the Austrian Hungarian Empire shattered because of the rise of nationalism. In Joseph Roth’s The Radetzky March, Roth spans the history of the Trotta family across three generations ultimately highlighting this empire’s. Trotta, the grandfather and a peasant, saves Emperor Franz Joseph at the Battle of Solferino which establishes the onset of the Trotta family aristocracy, but the act plagues the family. Roth stresses the relationship between Carl Joseph, the grandson of Trotta, and his friends as well as the empire's relationship with its…show more content…
In the first sentence, Roth uses a simile to demonstrate the aftermath of the first “phase” of the elliptical cycle; the grandfather’s social ranking, by saving the Kaiser, is altered dramatically from a peasant to the highest ranking military officer. Roth equates a person who just ‘traded’ his ‘own life’ for a ‘new alien life’ that was constructed in a ‘workshop’ to the grandfather, who ‘every night’ and ‘every morning’, looks into a mirror to make sure ‘that his face was the same. In other words, Trotta ‘walks to the mirror’ because he is dumbfounded and awed that such a drastic change would occur quickly; therefore, the first phase of the elliptical cycle indicates Trotta as emotionally unstable alluding to the society’s socially reserved culture. Additionally, towards the end of the novel, Roth highlights the second and third phase of the elliptical cycle highlighting Roth’s main theme: a socially rigid society leads to its eventual downfall. Returning to his regiment, Carl Joseph, the last of the Trotta family, neglects the army surrendering his military ranking and becomes a peasant like his…show more content…
Roth describes Joseph by using of irony. Joseph is described as if he knew a war was developing ‘since the day before yesterday, since weeks ago, etc’ even though Joseph just left the army because of it’s social rigidity. In other words, by using irony, Roth underscores the elliptical cycle of the Trotta family’s social status and demonstrates that the social rigidity of the empire has a profound effect on a person. Thus, Roth articulates the Trotta family elliptical cycle of their social standing to illuminate the social rigidity of the empire ultimately leading to the fall of the Austrian Hungarian

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