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Word Count: 1,289
Through moralist eyes the theme of Verdis La Traviata could easily appear to be a censure of Violettas lifestyle Indeed some of Alfredos first words to her are in costal guisa vucciderete in this fashion you will kill yourself However Verdi and Piaves true intent for their heroine was likely far less critical and far more tragic For Violetta sadness corresponds almost directly with disease and death Her tuberculosis lurked wherever there was sorrow and served as a physical projection of her emotions Her life as a courtesan filled with gaiety and passion is an escape from sorrow she is forced to take Yet while she suffers so greatly she ultimately sacrifices herself for the happiness of someone else Violetta is a tragic compassionate character who is forced to live every day as if being pursued by death itself As stated above sadness and illness were directly related for Violetta In act one her life as a kept woman provides her with distractions to keep misery at bay In just her second line she calls upon pleasure to dull my sufferings m 53 However even she calls the lifestyle aride follie barren folly m 18 Act I finale and it becomes clear early on that tuberculosis finds sadness enough to haunt her here While Gastone introduces Alfredo the audience is informed of Violettas history of disease m 119 and almost immediately following the Brindisi she suffers two consecutive attacks While the others leave to enjoy themselves Alfredo remains with Violetta cuing the beginning of true love and an apparent end at least for one act of her disease While Alfredo insists on his ignoto amor unknown love m 193 in the duet Un d felice Violetta appears to treat him as just another man Her reply to his first extended passage is high and brillante and consists largely of descending staccato 64th notes m 215 she laughs at
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