Jean and Julie are under the total influence of the Count. The innumerable power reversals between Jean and Julie are reduced to a joint submission to the Count, who is master and father. Jean would follow Julie in suicide himself if the Count commanded. The Count—disembodied, unseen, and unheard—is a figure of supreme, magical authority. The Count's authority demands Jean's return to servitude and Julie's death. The denouement of the play is sadistic, demanding that the heroine kill herself and claiming, through Jean, that it is the only way.