A common narrative device in the manipulation of tension is to intersperse points of calm before and after periods of excitement. This allows both space for tension to build and the establishment of a strong contrast in order to maximise the effect of the event when it arrives and for the audience to adjust to the aftermath once the event has passed. This can take place over smaller and longer time frames. So, for example, prior to the Southerner’s kidnapping of Monsieur Comtois the tranquil normalcy of life is established by illustrating their routine trip to church. Likewise, the murder of ‘Paul’ and his family had followed directly upon an intimate domestic portrait of the family going about their ordinary, everyday business. In another example of using personal routine to emphasise moments of individual, psychological calm, the climax of part 1 takes place after Bechard has been praying in church. Over a much longer time span we have the build-up to the inevitable conflict between the Southerner and Casanova. This isn’t directly preceded by a point of calm but a longer period when the tide seems to be flowing in Casanova’s favour, the apparent reversal in fortune intensifying the impact. It is, however, followed by a very distinct episode of recovery from that conflict, illustrated by Casanova resting at d’Urfé’s chateau overlooking a tranquil landscape and contemplating the new direction that the conflict will take.
‘Casanova in Paris: The Shadows of the King’ is freely available here.
27 long form articles on Casanova’s life and times are freely available here.
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