The surface Casanova presents to outsiders is one of supreme confidence. The audience understands from the beginning that this is only partly true. The conflict between this public persona and private reality adds interest in a couple of ways. Firstly, in how it will play out. To what extent will the inconsistencies and contradictions reveal themselves in his public actions and his relationships with others? Secondly, it resonates with the audience’s own experience of life. We all negotiate a pathway through the competing demands and expectations of the outside world, attempting to mould some kind of public facing consistency with regards to who we are, checking it against our private internal selves. This checking process is a questioning one that, inevitably, raises doubts about who, precisely, we are and how we can know who we are even to ourselves. Is there a real me, possessor of a unique, invariable, immutable soul? Or do I lack an essential core? Do I dissolve into a myriad of different, overlapping versions of myself that respond contingently to day-to-day events? Is this one of the reasons so many people look to find a purpose to life, a way somehow of stabilising who they are? In Casanova’s character this dilemma is highlighted, his outward show in so many ways at odds with his internal struggle. It is a reason for his fascination with cabbala, looking for purpose in the world and, maybe, even redemption.
‘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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