Characters Discussed

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Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 454


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Edouard (ay-DWAHR), a novelist who resembles André Gide. He is a close observer of and a commentator on the other characters and their actions, and he is a connecting link in their stories. He believes it is a person’s duty to be himself regardless of consequences, though the difference between the real and the counterfeit self may sometimes be hard to discern. His interest in Olivier is homosexual but on a higher level than Passavant’s.

Olivier Molinier

Olivier Molinier (oh-lee-VYAY moh-lee-NYAY), his thoughtful, reserved nephew, jealous of Edouard’s interest in Bernard, which he thinks is erotic. He temporarily falls under Passavant’s malign influence but escapes. He attempts suicide but is revived by Edouard.

George Molinier

George Molinier, Olivier’s younger brother, a passer of counterfeit coins. The coins are symbolic of the false selves that people reveal in society. Boris’ shocking death has a sobering effect on him.

Vincent Molinier

Vincent Molinier, Olivier’s tall, handsome older brother, a friend of Passavant; Laura’s lover and father of her child. He becomes insane after Lady Griffith’s death, which he may have brought about.

Bernard Profitendieu

Bernard Profitendieu (proh-fee-tahn-DYEW), Olivier’s friend and Edouard’s bold, unscrupulous, impudent secretary and disciple; an illegitimate son.

Laura Douviers

Laura Douviers (doo-VYAY), Edouard’s friend and Vincent’s discarded pregnant mistress, whom he met while both were patients in a sanatorium.

Felix Douviers

Felix Douviers, Laura’s generous husband, willing to forgive her and accept the child as his own.

Comte Robert de Passavant

Comte Robert de Passavant (pah-sah-VAHN), a cynical libertine, homosexual, and dilettante writer. He symbolizes aristocratic decadence.

Armand Vedel

Armand Vedel (ahr-MAHN veh-DEHL ), Laura’s younger brother and Olivier’s friend; he succeeds...

(The entire section contains 454 words.)

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Critical Essays