I noticed an infinite article; ‘a’ was used before ‘defeated Napoleon’ in the following sentence of Jeffery Archer’s novel, "Fales Impression" :
“General Sir Harry Wentworth sat at the right hand of the Iron Duke that night, and was commanding his left flank when a defeated Napoleon rode off the battlefield and into exile."
I’m curious to know why it should be “a defeated Napoleon,” not “the defeated Napoleon” or simply “defeated Napoleon.” Isn’t it only one Napoleon who was defeated the battle and exiled (to St. Helena). It looks like as though there were many (defeated) Napoleons who were exiled.
It’s always headache for me to handle articles as we Japanese (I think Chinese too) don’t have article as the basic part of speeches in our language system. I’ve studied it on English grammar text books at school, but have never reached full understanding of the usage of articles, because we don’t have that practice. Is there any special knack to master how to use articles?