The Bridge Of San Luis Rey Character Analysis

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The Bridge of San Luis Rey, by Thornton Wilder, is a story about the difference of loving for one's own sake and loving for the sake of others. This theme is shown in several different ways and concerning several different characters, however one major example of this concerns the relationship of Camila and Uncle Pio, a singer and the man who trained her and brought her to fame. They loved each other selfishly, each doing so to attain their own separate ends, but all of this changes when they realize how badly they have erred. Uncle Pio used Camila as another one of his great adventures and to fulfill his need for something to be in control of, while Camila saw Pio as a way of getting what she wanted; however, when everything changes they…show more content…
When Uncle Pio sees Camila, he sees her as a combination of his great aims in life "his passion for overseeing the lives of others, his worship of beautiful women, and his admiration for the treasures of Spanish literature." He found her when she was hardly a teenager and trained her to act and sing in the theatre, using and abusing her for her talents. Although the crowd always loved her, according to Pio nothing that she did was ever good enough. He overworked her and berated her, pushing her to the point of tears. When she did not perform to his impossible standards, he would practically torture her over it, "talk for an hour, analyzing the play…often until dawn…" (p. 76). Camila at first sees Uncle Pio a way to attain acceptance and admiration, not only from the crowds, but also from him. She strives for perfection and wants him to admit that she was excellent, but he never does. However, once she gains the acceptance of the noble society, she casts Pio out of her life, no longer needing him because she has what she wanted and to be seen with him would be a disgrace. However, it does not remain this way forever. Their selfish and passionate relationship abruptly changes when Camila is struck with smallpox and outcasts herself from the rest of the world due to the disfigurement it brings…show more content…
She is no longer the beautiful actress whom she once was and he cannot control her any longer, but he still longs to be a part of her life. He begins giving her money to help support her family, and tries desperately to show her that just because her looks are gone does not mean that her value is. Even though she tries to shut him out, he never gives up. He even offers to take her son under his wing and teach him how to be a gentleman, an offer which she eventually accepts. After she outcasts herself, Pio learns to see Camila as a person instead of as something to train and control and realizes that he can and does love her
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