The Return of Martin Guerre


Natalie Zemon Davis

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Sanxi the Elder Character Analysis

Sanxi Daguerre (later known as “Guerre”) was Martin’s father. Originally of Basque origin, he moved the family to the village of Artigat when Martin was very young. Davis depicts him as determined to adapt to his new surroundings, which he did with great success: for instance, he changed the family name from Daguerre to the more familiar Guerre. However, he was also controlling, stern, and demanded unquestioning loyalty from his son. For example, he refused to allow Martin to leave the family business and farm, although Martin felt stifled by village life. He also harshly enforced norms of Basque culture that prohibit stealing, so much so that Martin fled the village and his family after stealing a small quantity of grain. He eventually forgave his son for that transgression and for his abandonment, but died before Martin’s return.

Sanxi the Elder Quotes in The Return of Martin Guerre

The The Return of Martin Guerre quotes below are all either spoken by Sanxi the Elder or refer to Sanxi the Elder. 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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Sanxi the Elder Character Timeline in The Return of Martin Guerre

The timeline below shows where the character Sanxi the Elder 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
In 1527, Martin Guerre’s father, Sanxi Daguerre , moved to a village called Artigat in southwest France, leaving behind the family property... (full context)
Chapter 2
Narrative and Authority Theme Icon
...over. He liked little about Artigat except swordplay, which he loved. He fought frequently with his father and disliked village life, but there were few options for escape: his father would not... (full context)
Identity and Property Theme Icon
...when Martin was twenty-four, he was accused of stealing a small quantity of grain from his father . Davis suggests that this probably reflected a power struggle between father and son. Since... (full context)
Chapter 3
Identity and Property Theme Icon
Women, Honor, and Power Theme Icon
Martin’s parents eventually forgave him for his disappearance, and Martin’s father named Martin as his heir in his will when he died. Still, Martin’s departure was... (full context)
Chapter 6
Identity and Property Theme Icon in French Basque country), and he asked Pierre to see the accounts of the elder Sanxi , who had been the administrator of his nephew’s property. When Pierre refused, in late... (full context)