After serving time in mainland Italy for a minor theft, Elias Portolu returns home to Nuoro in rural Sardinia. Lonely and vulnerable after his prison exile, he falls in love with Maddalena, his brother's fiancee. He finds himself trapped by social and religious strictures, his passion and guilt winding into a spiral of anguish and paralyzing indecision. For guidance he turns to the village priest, who advises him to resist temptation; then he turns to the pagan 'father of the woods' who recognizes the weakness of human will and urges him to declare his love before it is too late. Finally Elias chooses a course that provides a measure of redemption but forces him into a position from which he can only helplessly observe the results of his affair. 'Elias Portolu' portrays the delicate balance between Christianity, pre-Christian pagan beliefs, and social mores that rule life in primitive Nuoro. In Deledda's sparse descriptions the rural landscape itself echoes the characters' desires and fears. Against this background, Elias's passion is seen as a heinous sin beyond human judgment, accountable directly to both fate and God.
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Elias Portolu regresa a Nuoro después de cumplir una condena de cárcel solo para verse atrapado en un amor imposible por Maddalena, la prometida de su hermano Pietro. Débil e irresoluto, Elias hoy traza planes para resistir la tentación, solo para no cumplirlos mañana. Se celebra la boda entre Pietro y Maddalena, pero la joven lleva el hijo de Elias en sus entrañas. Celoso porque el niño figura como hijo de Pietro, incapaz de cortar los lazos con el amor terrenal, Elias se mete a cura solo para ser más desdichado. Hasta que la enfermedad del pequeño exige que todo vuelva a su cauce.… (more)