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No one could love a child more than I loved your brother

For all Alphonse's attempt to console Victor, his being exactly wrong about the source of Victor's grief must be indicative of some narrowness or shortsightedness of his own. His son William is his only concern, and he assumes the same family priorities for Victor; but Victor knows that Justine has been murdered, too, and that more than tribal loyalty is at stake. That the father's commitment to the "public situations" (1.1.1) in which he has passed his mature years extends so little into actual social benevolence must in some sense affect how we take his counsel and assess his notion of virtue.