But who is “Guignol”?
Guignol is a traditional puppet character in French culture, first appearing in the early 19th century in the city of Lyon. The character of Guignol is inspired by a popular figure in the city, named Gnafron, who was a character in daily life in Lyon, a bit of a buffoon, a bit clumsy, but always benevolent.
Guignol is usually depicted as a small wooden man with a round head, a prominent nose, brown hair and a white beard. He is often dressed simply, with a cap and blouse, and is accompanied by other puppet characters such as Madelon, his wife, and the children they adopted.
Guignol shows take place in a small puppet theater called a "Guignol", where the puppets are manipulated by a puppeteer hidden behind a curtain. The stories are often comedic and aimed at a family audience, with themes such as justice, morality, politics and everyday life.
The exact origin of the Guignol character is uncertain, but it probably comes from the tradition of Italian puppets, which were introduced to France in the 16th century. However, the character of Guignol became iconic in the city of Lyon and French popular culture, and he is still popular with children and adults today.