How would you interpret ‘as’ in the last passage?
How would you interpret ‘as’ in the sentence ‘It was impossible to salute foreigners as an Italian, without embarrassment’?
Would you interpret it as ‘like’? Or would you interpret it as ‘in the capacity, character, condition, or role of’?
Thanks. It’s from A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway.
The next afternoon I went to call on Miss Barkley again. She was not in the garden and I went to the side door of the villa where the ambulances drove up. Inside I saw the head nurse, who said Miss Barkley was on duty—"there's a war on, you know."
I said I knew.
"You're the American in the Italian army?" she asked.
"How did you happen to do that? Why didn't you join up with us?"
"I don't know," I said. "Could I join now?"
"I'm afraid not now. Tell me. Why did you join up with the Italians?""I was in Italy," I said, "and I spoke Italian."
"Oh," she said. "I'm learning it. It's beautiful language."
"Somebody said you should be able to learn it in two weeks."
"Oh, I'll not learn it in two weeks. I've studied it for months now. You may come and see her after seven o'clock if you wish. She'll be off then. But don't bring a lot of Italians."
"Not even for the beautiful language?"
"No. Nor for the beautiful uniforms."
"Good evening," I said.
"A rivederci, Tenente."
"A rivederla." I saluted and went out. It was impossible to salute foreigners as an Italian, without embarrassment. The Italian salute never seemed made for export.