The Marquise's Honor

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"although i have pushed things to the limits of what is justifiable from time to time in my life, even when i dig into the darkest corners of myself, i never manage to discover a spark of remorse." Flaco

What happened before

Nobody in the widowed marquise's parents' house understands the haste with which the exuberant Russian cavalry captain courts Julietta. Why is he so keen on her? Certainly, Julietta looks damn good. And there's something about her. Something slightly sleepy, somnambulistic. Their appearance suggests romantic fierceness.

Heinrich von Kleist's narrative style resembles a single theater alarm. The actors appear pompous. They have important reasons for their dramatic performances. It's all about honor. First for the honor of the marquise, then for the honor of the count, and then again for the honor of the marquise. The hero is still in the house, even though he should have left long ago.

Remember. The russian cavalry captain and count had set off with all the signs of haste. But instead of getting into the carriage and rushing off, he made himself comfortable in the servants' quarters. That's when a distraught landlord stumbles upon him. 

Informed of this oddity and at the same time embarrassed, the landlord places his guest in the servants' compartment. There Juiletta's father asked the vehement admirer of his daughter whether he should give him a room.

A person taken by surprise finds himself faced with a fait accompli. That's the theatrical idea.

"The confused Colonel" - Juliettas father is a failed commander; his guest demoted him from warlord to bourgeois henpecked husband - calls people from the sphere of servants to tell them that they pick up the Count's luggage and then lead the guest into the "chambers intended for foreign visitors".  

The autonomous guest immediately gets rid of his travel clothes. He puts on his dress uniform and rushes off to the governor's office, where he spends the rest of the day. His behavior causes Julietta's family "unrest". Julietta's brother, the forester, describes himself as a witness to a coup. According to his observations, the count's social maneuvers were premeditated, just like a plan that has been put into action. The landlord is so annoyed by the matter that he forbids his relatives from getting involved any further. 

"At last, towards night, the Count (appears)."

The troubled family encircles him and assails him "with united strength". He is supposed to distance himself from his intentions and give the supposedly irrevocable the character of a flexible matter. Despite all this magic, a representational dimension is missing.
How does the Count look at his beloved?

Did Julietta choose a dress for the evening that reminds her of happy days? Does she perhaps wear widow's black year in, year out so as not to give anyone the right to doubt her respectability? 

Kleist says nothing about this.

The count rants about war and hunting. He embellishes his near-death experience. He tells of the delirium of a man who was almost fatally wounded; who finally rose miraculously from the dead to the heaven of the living. He memorizes details of a great show: the "heat of the wound fever" conjured up for him. He saw himself transported back to his childhood. He played with a swan on his father's estate.

Is Kleist alluding to the Leda-and-the-swan motif again at this point? The Russian cavalry captain as an encroaching Zeus?

Finally, the guest goes to sleep. The mistress immediately reveals her position by emphasizing the advantages of the suitor in a pandering manner. She praises a "young man (with) ... extraordinary qualities". Her daughter is forced into embarrassment by the eulogy. How would you decide if all your inquiries confirmed the favorable impression? In this case, the marquise promises to marry the count without resistance.

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