or The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat
as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton
under the Direction of The Marquis de Sade (1964)
Characters Glossary

Peter Weiss

Author's Note on the Historical Background to the Play
Characters Glossary
Marat/Sade: Opening scenes 1-8
Marat/Sade: Closing scenes 31-33
Literal Verse Translation of the Original Text from the Four Singers

Bas: Laurent Bas, collaborator of Marat.

Caen: city in the Calvados department. After their removal from power (June 2 1793) a number of GIRONDISTS, among them Barbaroux and Buzot fled to Caen and made it their center of resistance and conspiracy against the Jacobin radicals.

Carmagnole: short vest worn during the revolutionary period; dance of the revolutionary period; song accompanying the dance.

Convention: National Convention, revolutionary parliament that replaced Legislative Assembly on September 21,1792. It proclaimed the republic and governed France until October 26, 1795.

Corday, Charlotte: Marie Anne Charlotte de Corday d’Armont (1768-93), descendant from Norman nobility, related to Corneille. Politically well informed and active in the GIRONDIST movement. In response to the removal from power of the Girondists and the accedence of the JACOBINS murdered MARAT in his bathtub an July 13, 1793. She was guillotined July 17, 1793.

Damiens: Robert Francois Damiens (1715-57), attempted to murder Louis XV on January 5, 1757, and was executed on March 28. Weiss's description of Damien's execution is based almost verbatim on historical documents.

Danton: Georges Jacques Danton (1759-94), lawyer, member of the Jacobins and their most popular Orator. Together with ROBESPIERRE led the fight against the rightist GIRONDISTS as well as against the extreme left (Herbertists and Enragés). Turned against Robespierres radicalization of Revolution and was guillotined.

Directoire: government of France from the 4th Brumaire of the year IV (October 26, 1795) to the 18th Brumaire of the year VIII (November 1799).

Duperret: Claude Romain Lauze de Perret (1747-93), GIRONDIST delegate to the CONVENTION. Guillotined after the removal from power of the Girondists.

Enragés: the most radical faction of the SANS CULOTTES.

Fourth Estate: working masses below the bourgeoisie. The term was coined in the mid-nineteenth century in analogy to the original three estates: the nobility, the clergy, and the rest of the population.

Girondists: political movement of the bourgeoisie during the French revolution, named after the Gironde department, where many of its leaders came from. Acceded to power in the CONVENTION in 1792, where they represented the right. Soon clashed with the more radical JACOBINS (among whose leaders were MARAT, DANTON and ROBESPIERRE). The Girondists were removed from power on June 2, 1793. Following the murder of Marat on July 13, 1793, by the Girondist Charlotte CORDAY she herself as well as 21 Girondists were executed.

Incroyable: eccentric and dandyish young man during the period of the DIRECTOIRE.

Jacobins: a club of revolutionary radicals founded in 1789 whose members first assembled in an unused monastery of the Jacobins (Dominicans) in Paris. Under the leadership of ROBESPIERRE, DANTON and MARAT, the Jacobins became the dominant force in the CONVENTION where they sat on the left, facing their opponents, the GIRONDISTS who sat on the right. After Robespierres downfall the club was closed.

Lavoisier: Antoine Laurent de Lavoisier (1743-94), major figure in modern chemistry, guillotined.

Marat: Jean Paul Marat (1743-93 ), physician and naturalist, author of medical, philosophical and political works. During the early stages of the French Revolution he became a member of the NATIONAL CONVENTION and published his own newspaper L'Ami du Peuple [friend of the people] where he promoted radicalization of the revolution. Murdered on July 13 by CHARLOTTE CORDAY while sitting in his bathtub (during the revolutionary turmoil he at times had to hide in the sewers of Paris which led to a skin disease whose itching he relieved by spending hours in a bathtub).

Marianne: allegorical female figure representing the French nation.

Merveilleuse: female equivalent of the INCROYABLE.

Robespierre: Maximilien Marie Isidore de Robespierre (1758-94), lawyer. He, DANTON, and MARAT were the most important leaders of the Jacobins. Implacable foe of the GIRONDISTS. Instrumental in having Danton executed in April 1794, was executed himself three months later.

Roux: Jacques Roux (1752-94), radical priest and leader of the Enragés, the most militant grouping of the revolutionary masses. Critical of the more moderate JACOBINS, befriended MARAT but later turned against him.

Sade: Donatien Alphonse Francois, Marquis de Sade (1740-1814). nobleman from Provence department notorious for his sexual obsessions, described in works such as Juliette, La nouvelle Justine, and The 120 Days of Sodom. Repeatedly imprisoned for his sexual excesses, he became an enemy of the monarchy and, freed during the revolutionary upheavals, found himself at times on the side of the revolution. He publicly eulogized Marat. Having survived the revolutionary period he was interned permanently in 1801, from 1803 till his death at the Charenton Asylum. Here he continued his writing, including plays which he also staged, using inmates as performers. (He did not, however, either write or direct a play about Marat's assassination.)

Sans culottes: revolutionary masses; the name refers to the type of pants worn by the lower classes.

Section: during the revolution the quarters of Paris were organized in Sections.