The Bourne Identity | Study Guide

Robert Ludlum

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The Bourne Identity | Character Analysis


Jason Bourne

Jason Bourne (a.k.a. George P. Washburn a.k.a. Briggs a.k.a. Cain a.k.a. Delta a.k.a. David Webb) is both an everyman and a superman. His life, as he understands it, begins in Port Noir when fishermen pull him from the frigid Mediterranean Sea. Over the course of the novel Jason Bourne learns he is a trained killer, one of the best covert fighters in the world, and that he has weathered much tragedy. By the final chapter Jason Bourne knows more about himself. He loves Marie St. Jacques and wants to get well.

Marie St. Jacques

Through the novel Marie St. Jacques is Jason Bourne's savior and lover. She holds a "ranking position" in the Canadian government but drops her normal life to join Jason Bourne's search for his identity. As they fall in love, Marie St. Jacques risks her own life many times over and loses friends to murder. Yet, she never gives up her belief in Jason Bourne's innate goodness.


Carlos is Venezuelan, raised as a Marxist, and trained in espionage in Soviet Russia. Rejected by Russians for being too paranoid, he "[builds] his own world ... [as an] apolitical assassin whose services could be contracted for by the widest range of political and philosophical clients." He provides chaos to the highest bidder. Carlos's hatred for Jason Bourne begins when he thinks Bourne is Cain, a rival assassin created by the Americans to ultimately bring Carlos to ground. He escapes at the end of the book, leaving room for a sequel.

David Abbott

David Abbott is Jason Bourne's mentor. He trained him in special operations and espionage, knows his true name, and sent him undercover as Cain. Tragically, he dies in a murderous double-cross at Treadstone Seventy-one. If he had lived, Jason Bourne might have been able to come to ground earlier and with more safety.

André François Villiers

André François Villiers (also called General Villiers) served in the Algerian War as one of the men who agitated for France's continued involvement in that country. A fierce right-winger, he first ran for office after his son's murder at Carlos's hand. His wife, Angélique Villiers, who is younger than he is and very alluring, will betray him. In turn he will exact a terrible revenge. Like Marie St. Jacques, André François Villiers trusts Jason Bourne almost implicitly, helping him when no one else will.

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