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Foil

Character Role Analysis

Calixta and Clarisse

Calixta and Clarisse are similar in several ways: they are roughly the same age, have the same status as married mothers, and share a connection to the same man. Their relationships with Alcée show him as both desirable and off-putting, as wanted and not wanted. One woman is home and one away. One gets to speak directly in the text and one doesn't. One ends with pleasure and laughter, one with a sigh of relief. Yet they both want to be free, and both long, in a certain sense, for the past.

Is one luckier than the other? What do you think? For more on the connections between these two women, see "Themes: Women and Femininity."


Alcée and Bobinôt

Like their wives, Alcée and Bobinôt are foils for one another. Alcée takes Bobinôt role by entering the house and defending it during the storm: "Alcée, mounting to the porch, grabbed the trousers and snatched Bibi's braided jacket that was about to be carried away by a sudden gust of wind" (2.4). Both are husbands who, for whatever reason, are not satisfying their wives in bed. Yet in other respects both men seem like good husbands: they treat their wives with affection and kindness and care about the well-being of their children.


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