Daphne du Maurier-The Scapegoat
Posted in the Popular Fiction Forum
Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina
#1 Dec 23, 2007
The Scapegoat is a 1957 novel by Daphne du Maurier. In 1959, it was made into a film of the same name, starring Sir Alec Guinness.
Taken by the faithful servant to a huge but crumbling chateau, he finds that he is also the owner of a glass factory that appears to be failing. Indeed, the problems concerning the family are seemingly insurmountable, and at first the protagonist stumbles through one mistake after another; nevertheless no-one suspects he is not Jean, the Frenchman (other than the dog, whose behaviour is commented upon but not questioned). It soon becomes apparent that Jean is bad through and through, he has had an affair with his sister-in-law, and his sister Blanche has not spoken to him for fifteen years. We only discover the reason for this much later on in the book. Furthermore, his mother is a morphine addict, supplied with her drugs by none other than her dutiful son, Jean. His poor pathetic wife dies in an accident soon after the Englishman arrives. The double then attempts to put everyone's life to rights, little realising the extent of damage his predecessor has managed to do. Just when it seems as though he is finally succeeding, Jean returns to claim his life back.
The novel is written in the first person, John, the Englishman, so we see everything through the eyes of the narrator. This is a very effective way of relating the story, as the reader knows as much or as little as the narrator.
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