(Great Characters in Literature)

Characters Discussed

Jeanne de La Motte Valois

Jeanne de La Motte Valois (zhahn deh lah moht vah[l]-WAH), an impoverished noblewoman who wishes to find favor at the court of Louis XVI. Although she is befriended by the queen, she plots against the queen, even to the point of forging documents and hiding a questionable necklace. She puts Marie Antoinette into a situation that makes the queen appear guilty of adultery and theft.

Marie Antoinette

Marie Antoinette (mah-REE ah[n]-twah-NEHT), the queen of France and the wife of Louis XVI. She is portrayed as a charming, intelligent, and honorable woman. Her enemies victimize her so that she is made to appear an adulteress and a thief. Her enemies are Jeanne de La Motte Valois, Cardinal de Rohan, and Count Cagliostro.

Andrée de Taverney

Andrée de Taverney (ahn-DRAY deh tah-vehr-NAY), a female courtier who is friendly and helpful to the queen. She becomes jealous, however, when the Count de Charny is favored by Marie Antoinette. Andrée enters a convent.

Philippe de Taverney

Philippe de Taverney (fee-LEEP), Andrée’s brother, a handsome, pleasant courtier who is helpful to the queen. He falls in love with Marie Antoinette. Later, he is led to believe sincerely that he has seen Marie Antoinette in questionable circumstances.

Count de Charny

Count de Charny (deh shahr-NEE), a naval officer who is loved by Andrée de Taverney. He is the object of an innocent flirtation by the queen. He, like other courtiers, is led to believe that he has observed the queen in questionable circumstances.

Count Cagliostro

Count Cagliostro (kahg-lee-OHS-troh), an Italian adventurer and supposed magician. He uses Oliva, a woman closely resembling Marie Antoinette, to make it appear that the queen is immoral.


Oliva (oh-lee-VAH), a young woman with a strong resemblance to Marie Antoinette. She is used by the queen’s enemies to make it appear that the queen is immoral, even to being the mistress of Cardinal de Rohan.

Cardinal de Rohan

Cardinal de Rohan (deh roh-A[N]), a churchman who wants favor at court. He loves Marie Antoinette and believes, thanks to Oliva, that the queen will take him as a lover. He tries to buy the queen’s favor by purchasing for her a fabulous necklace she admires.