La Partie de trictrac: Nouvelle aux résonnances tragiques

A cursory reading of Mérimée's La Partie de trictrac may lead us to concur with Taine's conclusion that cheating at backgammon and the ensuing loss of personal honor are the central incidents of the story. This point of view reduces the tale of Roger (the hero) to the level of a banal, melodramatic, anecdote with seemingly hasty and enigmatic epilogue. This study shows that in La Partie de trictrac Mérimée's aim is to demystify the reader by exposing the heteronomous aspect of life and the ambiguity of many human actions. The meticulously structured plot and its strategically incorporated psychological details bring into focus the true, yet less discernible, center of the story: the hero's need to win in all situations. In direct opposition to the classical hero who accepts the verdict of Fate, Roger refuses to "play the game" – that is, to accept the aleatory aspect of existence. (In French) (DM)

Mihram, Danielle
Volume 1979-1980 Fall-Winter; 8(1-2): 53-61.