La Reine Margot by Alexandre Dumas can be read as the story of two guys, and their two girlfriends: the alpha couple is Marguerite de Valois (Margot), who's having a passionate affair with the protestant La Môle (sort of historically attested). The beta couple is Marguerite's friend Henriette, having an affair with La Môle's friend Coconnas. That is certainly how film adaptations (both the French and the Russian) treated the subject-matter.

But there are numerous curious statements made by Coconnas. First, he tells Henriette that his relationship with her is like a candle, whereas his relationship with La Môle is like a star. Then, in the very end,

choosing between life with Henriette and death with La Môle, he chooses the latter, without a moment of hesitation.

It gets more explicit towards the end: right after La Môle kisses Margot on the forehead, Coconnas kisses La Môle on the forehead. And

When the two are executed, first La Môle kisses a pendant given by Margot, then Coconnas kisses La Môle's severed head on the lips.

Had all this been written today, the homoeroticism would have been deliberate. Homosexual characters appear in other works by Alexandre Dumas. For example, in Le Comte de Monte-Cristo, Danglar's daughter refuses all the men who court her, explicitly says she's not interested in men, and finally runs off with a woman. Also, curiously enough, according to French Wikipedia, La Môle was the lover both of Marggueritte, and of her brother François (source).

Nonetheless, in this particular case, I'm curious whether the homoerotic subtext is intentional, or whether I am reading into the novel something that is not there, and inspired rather by my modern views.



Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.