Study Guide

The Leopard Pride

By Giuseppe di Lampedusa


The Prince felt humiliated, reduced to the rank of one protected by Russo's friends; his only merit, as far as he could see, was being uncle to that urchin Tancredi. (1.100)

It ain't easy being a Prince, especially when there's a revolution happening and you need to rely on local peasants to make sure no violence comes to you and your family. This is a far cry from the days when Prince Fabrizio felt like he was in charge.

[The] blow to his pride dealt by the father's tailcoat was now repeated by the daughter's looks. (2.70).

Fabrizio doesn't like being one-upped by anybody, especially the likes of Don Calogero. It's humiliating enough that Don Calogero has come to his house dressed more formally than him. But the fact that Calogero's daughter is way prettier than any of his is almost too much to bear.

The Prince gave a start of annoyance; so touchy is the pride of class, even in a moment of decline, that these orgiastic praises of the beauties of his future niece offended him. (3.52)

On many occasions, Fabrizio does a good job of sitting on his pride and not getting too worked up. But when he hears his buddy talking sexually about his future niece, his pride flares up like a fire that's not quite out yet, and he quickly puts his buddy back in his place. Let's not forget that the Prince is a really big dude.

Don Fabrizio was overcome with sincere emotion; the toad had been swallowed; the chewed head and gizzards were going down his throat; he still had to crunch up the claws, but that was nothing compared to the rest; the worst was over. (3.70)

Fabrizio has a really tough time negotiating the marriage of his nephew Tancredi to a commoner. But deep down, he knows that this is the way things need to be so he really up for his nephew when the kid needs him most. For all of his bad qualities, Fabrizio is still capable of doing a good thing for someone he cares about.

Anyone deducing from this attitude of Angelica that she loved Tancredi would have been mistaken; she had too much pride and too much ambition to be capable of that annihilation, however temporary, of one's own personality without which there is no love. (4.12)

Angelica is happy to marry Tancredi, but that doesn't mean she loves him. She's way too proud to let herself love someone, which would involve putting her pride and her heart on the line. But who wants to do that?

"Silly girls! With all those scruples, and taboos and pride, they won't get anyone in the end." (4.46)

Fabrizio is worried that his daughters will remain single their entire lives because they're too proud and cautious to ever allow themselves to love someone. It's a big risk loving someone, and Concetta finds this out the hard way when Tancredi breaks her heart. In the end, Fabrizio is right. None of his daughters ever marry because they're just too prudish, shy, and proud to let anyone get near them emotionally.

Flattery always slipped off the Prince like water off the leaves of water lilies: it is one of the advantages enjoyed by men who are at once proud and used to being so. (4.78)

Fabrizio is so proud that flattery means almost nothing to him. People can compliment him all they want, but the fact is that he already thinks he's pretty great and he doesn't need them reminding him of it. How's that for ego?

"Listen to your conscience, Prince, and not to the proud truths that you have spoken. Collaborate." (4.97)

When he's offered a position as senator in the new Italy, Fabrizio turns it down. The man sent to convince him insists that he should learn to work with others instead of being so proud and stubborn. But Fabrizio holds firmly to his pride and sends the dude packing.

The reason for the difference must lie in this sense of superiority that dazzles every Sicilian eye, and which we ourselves call pride while in reality it is blindness. (4.100)

Fabrizio realizes that his Sicilian pride is just a type of blindness at the end of the day, since pride keeps us from ever seeing our true faults. That said, pride also gives us a sort of blind confidence to jump head first into everything we do, so there can actually be an upside to it, too.

"With a word of apology he sat down next to the Colonel, who got up as he arrived—a small sop to Salina pride." (6.62)

Even though his government has fallen and he no longer has any official status as a Prince, Fabrizio still gets the royal treatment from one of his old friends. He knows that it's just an empty gesture meant to save his pride, but he'll take whatever he can get at this point.