The Return of Martin Guerre

by

Natalie Zemon Davis

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Pierre was Sanxi the elder’s brother and Martin’s uncle. He moved to Artigat with the family and also changed his name to “Guerre.” Pierre was loyal and committed to the welfare of the Guerre family. After Martin’s abandonment and the death of his parents, Pierre took on the status of head of the family. He married the widowed mother of Bertrande de Rols, Martin’s wife, thus allowing him to provide for Martin’s family. At the same time, however, he could also be stubborn and controlling. When the impostor Arnaud (as “Martin”) asked to see the accounts of the elder Sanxi, Pierre reacted with great anger and became convinced that the new “Martin” was not who he said he was. In retaliation, he brought a lawsuit against Arnaud. He forced Bertrande to testify in the suit by threatening to throw her out of the house, although she maintained that Arnaud was her true husband. This demonstrates his willingness to use his power as head of the family to try to control and dominate other family members. After the trial—in which Martin returned and proved that Arnaud was an impostor—Pierre remained close with his nephew, since Davis notes that their names appear together on contracts and in lawsuits.

Pierre Quotes in The Return of Martin Guerre

The The Return of Martin Guerre quotes below are all either spoken by Pierre or refer to Pierre . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Identity and Property Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Harvard University Press edition of The Return of Martin Guerre published in 1983.
Chapter 1 Quotes

Into this village, then, came the Daguerres, settling to the east of the Lèze, acquiring land (perhaps buying someone else’s propres), and establishing a tileworks […]. To be accepted by the village they had to take on some Languedoc ways. Daguerre became Guerre; if Pierre had used the Basque form of his name, Betrisantz or even Petri, he now changed it.

Related Characters: Martin Guerre, Sanxi the Elder, Pierre
Page Number: 14
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Return of Martin Guerre PDF

Pierre Character Timeline in The Return of Martin Guerre

The timeline below shows where the character Pierre appears in The Return of Martin Guerre. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Identity and Property Theme Icon
...between France and Spain. With Sanxi came his wife, his son Martin, and his brother Pierre. Why the family chose to leave their ancestral home is unknown, but Davis suggests that... (full context)
Chapter 3
Identity and Property Theme Icon
Women, Honor, and Power Theme Icon
...of her own, she had to live under the same roof as her mother again. Pierre had married Bertrande’s widowed mother, thus taking responsibility for Martin’s family by marriage. In the... (full context)
Chapter 5
The Nature of Evidence Theme Icon
...at a hotel near Artigat, where word spread that “Martin” had returned. At first, Bertrande, Pierre, Martin’s four sisters, and the rest of the family didn’t recognize him. But when he... (full context)
Chapter 6
Identity and Property Theme Icon
...commodities around the neighboring villages. However, his economic ambitions soon led him to quarrel with Pierre over management of the family property. Arnaud began buying, selling, and leasing land (including the... (full context)
Identity and Property Theme Icon
The Nature of Evidence Theme Icon
...went before the court of Rieux involving legal squabbles over property and inheritance. But for Pierre, such an action was an unthinkable rebellion against his patriarchal authority. He became convinced that... (full context)
Narrative and Authority Theme Icon
The Nature of Evidence Theme Icon
However, Bertrande continued to maintain that Arnaud was indeed the true Martin. Arnaud claimed that Pierre had made up the story. The quarrel split the villagers, some of whom believed Pierre... (full context)
Women, Honor, and Power Theme Icon
Pierre made inquiries and found out that “Martin” was actually Arnaud. He opened a formal legal... (full context)
The Nature of Evidence Theme Icon
Davis wonders whether Arnaud’s imposture would have been exposed if he hadn’t challenged Pierre in this way—that is, by leasing the family’s ancestral properties and asking to see the... (full context)
Chapter 7
Women, Honor, and Power Theme Icon
Bertrande moved out of Pierre’s house to live with a family in Rieux, since the court determined that Pierre had... (full context)
The Nature of Evidence Theme Icon
Arnaud, meanwhile, made a brilliant legal defense without the benefit of an attorney, accusing Pierre of having made up the whole story to discredit him and take his property. When... (full context)
Chapter 8
Women, Honor, and Power Theme Icon
While the trial went on, Pierre and Bertrande were both imprisoned along with Arnaud. When the court called Bertrande to the... (full context)
Women, Honor, and Power Theme Icon
The Nature of Evidence Theme Icon
...the younger Sanxi, since he was closer to them in age. On the other hand, Pierre seemed to have a vendetta against his nephew and had confessed to misrepresenting himself as... (full context)
Chapter 9
The Nature of Evidence Theme Icon
...with anger and fear. The du Tilh brothers were called as witnesses, but they fled. Pierre was asked to identify Martin from a group of men all dressed alike, and he... (full context)
Identity and Property Theme Icon
...been easily deceived, but was an honorable woman. They were lenient, too, with the Guerres: Pierre was not punished for his schemes against Arnaud and Bertrande, and Martin was also not... (full context)
Epilogue
Identity and Property Theme Icon
Women, Honor, and Power Theme Icon
By 1563, everything seemed back to normal in Artigat. Pierre and Martin were on good terms, their names appearing together on contracts and in lawsuits.... (full context)