"Two Friends" Characters
The main characters in “Two Friends” are Monsieur Morissot, Monsieur Sauvage, and the Prussian officer.
- Monsieur Morissot is a watchmaker who has been left without work by the war. Quiet, cautious, peaceful, and philosophical, Morissot displays great courage when he and Sauvage are captured.
- Monsieur Sauvage is a similarly out-of-work draper. A lighthearted and humorous yet careful man, he is the one to suggest the fishing trip to Morissot, and like his friend, he faces death bravely.
- The Prussian officer treats Morissot and Sauvage as spies, demanding they give him the Parisian password and casually executing them when they refuse.
Monsieur Morissot is a man down on his luck. A watchmaker by profession, he is currently idle, for there is little demand for a new watch in a Paris under siege. Yet even with an empty stomach, Morissot can still stroll along a Paris boulevard with his hands in his pockets on a sunny morning. The description suggests a certain nonchalance, as if Morissot is determined to enjoy a nice day despite the hardships he faces.
Morissot's favorite hobby is fishing, and before the war, he would fish all day every Sunday, often with his friend Monsieur Sauvage by his side. Morissot would be intent upon his fishing, not even taking his eyes off his task when Sauvage would comment on the autumn sunset. Indeed, Morissot seems to be a man of few words, yet he says enough to express himself clearly. Even his comment of “And to think of the fishing! What good times we used to have!” is enough to recall a myriad of expeditions and enjoyable days.
Morissot has a cautious side to his nature. He agrees quickly to Sauvage's suggestion for a new fishing trip, but he also worries about meeting the Prussians. When the friends arrive at their fishing spot, Morissot puts his ear to the ground to check for nearby footsteps. Not hearing any, however, he gives himself over to the pleasure of catching fish.
Surprisingly, Morissot also possesses a philosophical streak. It appears when the cannon on Mont-Valerien begin to fire. “With the angry impatience of a peaceful man,” he remarks, “What fools they are to kill one another like that!” He knows exactly what to blame, too: there will be wars as “long as there are governments!” he declares. When his friend comments that if the Republic had been in place, the war may not have happened, Morissort calmly and practically replies, “Under a king we have foreign wars; under a republic we have civil war.” War, he believes, is unavoidable. Finally, Morissot philosophically responds to Sauvage's “Such is life!” with “Say, rather, such is death!” He is right, even as he chuckles, for war means death.
Morissot does not know, of course, that the war will mean his death as well. When he must face death directly, he does so with courage and loyalty. He refuses to betray his country or his friend no matter what kind of promises or threats the Prussian officer makes. He remains silent, terrified and trembling, but firm even as his heart sinks within him and tears spring to his eyes. He simply shakes his friend's hand and bids him goodbye. Then he accepts his death without complaint, true to the end.
A draper by trade and a “stout, jolly, little man,” Monsieur Sauvage has a passion for fishing, a somewhat impulsive nature, a sense of humor, and a strong and courageous loyalty. Every Sunday before the war, Sauvage would join his friend Morissot at their favorite fishing spot for a day of angling and a bit of conversation. He would also share a simple appreciation of the beauty of nature with his friend, exclaiming, for instance, “What a glorious spectacle!” at the sight of an autumn sunset.
Sauvage's love for fishing leads him to an impulsive decision when he meets Morissot on the street one January morning. After a couple of...
(The entire section contains 1226 words.)
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