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The Maids

Jean Genet

Character List

Plot Outline

Analysis of Major Characters

Solange -  Claire's older sister. Solange is in her early 30s. She has a more resentful attitude toward Madame, and in their fantasies maintains her role as a maid. She gets aroused by Claire's (as Madame) sadistic abuse of her, but she is not afraid to fight back with violence. She also has a softer side—she often treats Claire with maternal affection, she was too cowardly to kill Madame when she had the chance, and she even privately delights in reading Claire's fantastical stories. The maids have been planning to get Solange impregnated by Mario.

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Claire -  Solange's younger sister. Claire is in her early 30s. While she claims she loathes Madame, she is also quick to defend her, pointing out her kindness. Madame does favor Claire, and Claire, who always plays the role of Madame in her and Solange's fantasies, wishes to attain her status. As Solange observes, she strolls around Madame's balcony at night as if she were royalty, and loves making herself up with Madame's cosmetics. She also writes fantastical stories, which Solange secretly reads and revels in.

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Madame -  Employs Claire and Solange as her maids. Madame is a wealthy older woman whose husband has been anonymously "denounced" to the police. She lives a lavish lifestyle, wearing furs and drinking champagne, but in Monsieur's absence she sometimes resigns herself to a self-pitying life of mourning. Still, she is aroused by his criminality and fantasizes about breaking him free from prison. She favors Claire, and is scared that the maids will desert her, too. She has occasional whims of generosity, but she often lashes out at the maids.

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Monsieur -  The husband of Madame. Monsieur never appears on-stage—he has been wrongfully sent to prison by an anonymous letter from Claire—but his presence looms over the play. Though his character is not detailed too greatly, it is obvious that Madame is dependent on him, and the maids despise him as much as they do her.
Mario -  The milkman. Mario never appears on-stage, but Claire and Solange frequently bring him up in their insults. Their plan is for Solange to get impregnated by him, but he seems to be carrying on affairs with both sisters.

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