Alphonse Moreau completes our coterie of bad guys in part 1 who are under the direction of Bechard. He is a minor character who only appears in chapter 8 (‘Threads’) and although, unlike ‘Paul’, we get to know little about him as a person nonetheless he is significant to the novel in several ways.
Moreau is one of Bechard’s spies who is given the task of following Casanova and Gabrielle. Unbeknownst to him, however, Casanova has taken the precaution of having Stefano follow them at a distance as back up. Given the extent to which spying and surveillance was rife in Old Regime Paris, Casanova’s suspicions are perfectly justified. You now have a reversal of the sequence in chapter 4 (‘Secrets’), which occurred one third of the way into the novel, in which Stefano followed Casanova but was in turn being spied upon by ‘Paul’. We are now two thirds of the way through and this reversal signals a shift in direction as Casanova takes the initiative against those who are trying to destroy Duverney (see Foreshadowing – here). The capture and interrogation of Moreau reinforces other themes that are being developed: the closeness of the relationship between Casanova and Stefano; the pathos and dilemma of those who are little more than pawns such as ‘Paul’, Moreau, and Guillaime; and the rivalry between Bechard and de Bernis. Casanova’s willingness to resort to violence to achieve his ends is also raised. Moreau does spill the beans and because de Bernis steps in to protect him the assumption is that he has done so before any pain has been inflicted on him. Although it is left unclear what actually happened, the apparent willingness of Casanova to use torture does add an edge to his character.
‘The Prologue’, and chapters 1 to 10 of ‘Casanova in Paris: The Shadows of the King’ are now freely available here.
6 long form articles on Casanova’s life and times are freely available here.
#characterisation #character #moreau #spy