The Chouans

by Honoré Balzac

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Last Updated September 5, 2023.

The Chouans

The Chouans are a group of rebels in the Brittany region of France. Historically, they are a real people, led in rebellion against the crown by Jean Chouan. They are a persistent group, and in Les Chouans they follow the leadership of Marquis de Montauran. There are multiple minor characters who are members of this group.


Corentin is the detective tasked with finding the leader of the Chouan resistance. He is a cunning and intelligent man who is focused wholeheartedly on the task of the Marquis' capture. Later in the story, he tricks his partner, Marie, into believing the Marquis, who is her fiancé, is in love with another, leading her to sentence all the rebels, including her fiancé, to death.

Marie de Verneuil

Marie is the protagonist of the novel. She is a wealthy aristocrat who is tasked with working with Corentin to find and subdue the leader of the Chouans. She eventually falls in love with the Marquis, but sends orders for his and the other rebels’ execution after believing he is not truly in love with her and is actually in love with her sworn enemy. She spends the final portion of the novel trying in vain to save his life the day after their wedding.

Marquis de Montauran

Marquis de Montauran is the charismatic leader of the Chouans. He is intelligent and cunning, able to evade capture and plan battles, but is relatively impoverished. He is well respected by his followers, and his charm eventually convinces Marie to marry him. They have a short life together, their engagement is in the midst of the turmoil of the war and his pursuit, and he is killed the day after they marry because of the order Marie executed.


Hulot is a loyal commanding officer in the French Republic Army. He is sent to fight the insurgent Chouans.

Madame du Gua Saint-Cyr

Mme. du Gua Saint-Cyr is Montauran's mother. She fiercly loves her son and supports his rebellious cause, but she does not support his love for Marie and tries to have her killed.


Marche-à-Terre is one of the main rebel Chouans. He is cut throat and violent and leads the rebels down a path of treachery.


Francine is Marie's maid and Marche-à-Terre's former lover.

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