The Devil makes his initial appearance in ‘Casanova in Paris’ in chapter 4 (‘Places des Fleurs’) as one of a set of gargoyles decorating Pont Neuf during a scene in which Casanova is reflecting upon his negative feelings towards his mother. The Devil then takes pride of place in two major dream sequences that reflect Casanova’s agitated state of mind where he represents and touches upon a number of different aspects of the novel. First of all, he embodies the idea of judgement and punishment, which relates both to Casanova’s position as a fugitive from the law and his feelings of guilt, self-loathing and remorse at the way he lives his life and the pain he has caused others. Secondly, the Devil highlights Casanova’s superstitious nature. The Venetian has a genuine belief in the workings of cabbala (even if he also uses it cynically to dupe others) and his supernatural oracle (represented in the novel as a disembodied second person voice). The presence and actions of the Devil are also a graphic reminder to the audience of the dangers that are awaiting Casanova in the real world.
‘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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