The Marquise of O: the Count's Destruction of Communication Essay

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Throughout Heinrich von Kleist's "The Marquise of O-" communication breakdowns caused by Count F- cause much needless confusion and are the fault of many tribulations. Much of the Count's flaws that hinder communication happen because he tries to protect his honor by concealing the truth. Because of this cowardice and his self delusions of his own perfect moral character, Count F- communicates incorrectly to the Marquise and her family.

The Count's perception of himself as a humble military man is challenged when he is asked to identify the Marquise's assailants. The Count lies and says that he can not recognize them. He lies because of his own embarrassment in committing the act that the Marquise's attackers attempted and not
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To her the Count seems like such an admirable man that she "was inconsolable at having missed the opportunity of throwing herself at his feet."(73) In actuality the outburst was the Count's confession of guilt.

When the Count proposes to the Marquise, he does so because he believes that he can cover up his mistake. If he were to marry the Marquise, no one would have to know about his act and his sense of self would be preserved. This explains the Count's desire to rush the marriage and have it take place the same day as his proposal. He abruptly proposes without any reason or prelude and then does not even romance the Marquise. When he speaks to her for the first time he has a little small talk "- and then asked her if she would be willing to marry him."(75) The phrase is so out of place that the Marquise and her family are confused and consequently the Count has made it less likely for them to marry. His ego tells him that he should get a positive response from the Marquise because he is doing her a favor by marrying her and as a result she would never reject him. The Count is actually very surprised that "he had failed in a conversation lasting five minutes, to extract a promise of marriage from a lady with whom he was totally unacquainted."(79) Instead of preserving his image

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