L'Aiglon (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Franz, the duke of Reichstadt, called L’Aiglon, Na-poleon’s son, a weak and idealistic youth. He dreams of returning to France as emperor, but he is in delicate health. He plans an escape from his ever-present guards, but his plot is discovered, and he is stopped while trying to get away. He realizes that he is not strong enough or brave enough to make the sacrifices necessary to become another Napoleon. Death from pulmonary tuberculosis soon overcomes him.
Prince Metternich, the Austrian statesman who is Franz’s official jailer. He makes it his business to keep Franz closely guarded at all times and discovers his plan to escape. He provides tutors for Franz who never speak Napoleon’s name in any of their lessons. He taunts Franz by pointing out to him how unlike his father he is.
Seraphin Flambeau (say-rah-FA[N]-flahm-BOH), an old soldier in Napoleon’s army. He encourages Franz in his dreams of returning to France and helps him in his plan to escape. When the plan is discovered, he kills himself rather than face a firing squad.
Marie-Louise, the mother of Franz and daughter of the Austrian emperor. She does not greatly regret her husband’s death and would be very happy in the Austrian court...
(The entire section is 399 words.)
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