Georges (zhohrzh), the narrator, a young cavalry soldier and prisoner of war. He is obsessed with Corinne de Reixach as a means of determining whether her husband’s death was an accident of war or a suicide. The product of a solid classical education but little real-life experience, Georges possesses a cultivated contempt for authority and scorns his parents’ intellectual and aristocratic pretensions. With the French army en route and in an attempt to reestablish a sense of order, Georges becomes obsessed with solving the mystery of de Reixach’s death.
Charles de Reixach
Charles de Reixach (shahrl deh ri-SHAHK), a distant cousin of Georges, the commanding officer of Georges’s squadron and the cuckolded husband of Corinne. He is elegant, controlled, distant, meticulous in dress and manner, and cordial to his men. This forty-two-year-old aristocrat presents an impenetrable expressionless face that defies access to his inner thoughts and motivations and makes him an enigma to Georges. De Reixach is killed by a sniper’s bullet, a death he may have chosen as a result of his humiliation at his wife’s infidelity.
Corinne de Reixach
Corinne de Reixach (koh-RIHN), Charles’s wife, the object of Georges’s obsession, and Iglésia’s lover. Twenty years younger than her husband, Corinne is seen as a parvenue with a reputation for promiscuity. Blonde and possessing an ideal, translucent beauty, she is a fascinating and disturbing woman/child whose shameless clothes and actions scandalize the aristocratic class. Corinne’s whims continually challenge her husband’s traditions and values, as well as his ability to control and satisfy her. After the war, Corinne remarries and has a brief affair with Georges.
Iglésia (ih-GLAY-zee-ah), who in peacetime was...
(The entire section is 805 words.)