The Love Theme and the Monologue Structure in Armance

Stendhal presents as the dominant theme of his first novel, the Octave-Armance love affair. He enhances the increasing dramatic tension of the relationship between the two cousins by employing the obstacle technique. In each of seven obstacle structures, he follows a discernible pattern, inserting between the obstacle and its resolution, a meditative phase marked by alternating hope and despair expressed in bursts of interior monologue. Unity is achieved by allowing another mysterious theme, the hero's sexual inadequacy, to constitute a nagging presence in each structure and by establishing it as both the initial obstacle and the final insurmountable one that culminates in Octave's despair and suicide. (PTC)

Comeau, Paul T.
Volume 1980-1981 Fall-Winter; 9(1-2): 37-58.