Martyrdom: “the Necklace”

Topics: Guy de Maupassant, Sacrifice, Gustave Flaubert Pages: 2 (556 words) Published: January 27, 2013
Martyrdom: “The Necklace”1

Interpretation of “The Necklace:” Martyrdom
Travis ****
***** University

Martyrdom: “The Necklace” 2

Guy De Maupassant’s story “The Necklace,” has an abundance of symbolic factors, and though there are many meanings that can be inferred, there is one apparent allusion that is projected. The danger of martyrdom is evident in “The Necklace,” along with the consequential fate of self-serving actions. Mathilde’s perception of herself as a martyr leads her to take selfish and self-serving actions which lead to extremely unfortunate circumstances. Mathilde, middle class at best, does everything she can to make her life seem like one of privilege. This leads her to borrow the necklace, and ultimately lose the adornment along with her comfortable life. However, at the end of the story Monsier Loisel is the one who becomes the martyr while trying to protect and help his partner.

Mathilde’s view of herself as a martyr leads her to make selfish, and ultimately catastrophic, decisions. She and her husband live comfortably and are not deprived of anything essential to a fair quality of life, yet she still feels as if it is necessary to suffer through the mediocrity. Mathilde is unable, and unwilling, to accept and appreciate what she is fortunate to have, which includes a satisfactory home, warm meals, proper clothes, and an admirable and loving husband. She feels her physical attractiveness and charm are being wasted on a dull and inferior life. After Mathilde loses the necklace and spends the next ten years paying back the debt, she find herself behaving more like a martyr by undertaking the hard work with dedication and perseverance. She is not the beautiful woman she once was. In a sense she has truly fulfilled her role as a martyr by succumbing to a fate of unattractiveness.

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