Frequently in ‘Casanova in Paris’ we explore the idea of role-playing. Sometimes this is overt and sometimes it is more subtle. It is, of course, a natural fit with a story that contains spying at its heart but it does touch on a phenomenon which is much broader than that and which everybody will have experience of, and that is our identity and how we manipulate it to seem a particular kind of person to others. We do it all the time as we shift from role to role, navigating societies’, and our own, expectations of how we should be: brother, sister, friend, co-worker, boss, parent, partner, son, daughter, ally, stranger. Most of the time we are unaware that we are doing this. At other times, however, we are very conscious that we are editing who we are for public consumption, most notoriously on social media.
It is this more self-conscious identity manipulation that threads its way through the novel. We first come across it directly with the Southerner and his men who take on roles in order to draw their victims to them, to isolate them and make them vulnerable, such as Monsieur Comtois and the Fauberg District Agent. Later we have Marie dressing as a man to go undercover to investigate who it is who is killing and intimidating Paris Duverney’s workforce and associates. Casanova helps the Marquise D’Urfe to spread rumours about herself in order to hide her true life from prying eyes. De Bernis acts as a friend to Casanova and an ally to Duverney as he disguises his true motivation which is to nullify Bechard as a competitor for the king’s favour while Bechard himself plays up his role as defender of the king in order to recruit helpers like Guillaime and facilitate his own deadly vendetta.
‘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.
#characterisation #character #storytelling #identity #roleplaying