Task 1: Mathilde Loisel is a wholly unsympathetic character who brings about her downfall and deserves her fate. How far do you agree with this assessment of her character? Remember to comment on how language, view point and tone convey character and meaning in the story.
In‘The Necklace’, Guy de Maupassant introduces a character full of faults. Indeed Mathilde Loisel comes across as a wholly unsympathetic protagonist for whom the reader feels nothing but contempt. She accepts neither her rank, nor her way of life. It seems obvious that greed, dissatisfaction, selfishness and her talent to manipulate others are Mathilde’s fatal flaws which lead to her deserved downfall. But on the other hand, she could be seen as a very unlucky character and a victim of the randomness of life. This aspect leads the reader to wonder if she is completely responsible for her social decline, even though he does not feel pity or sadness for her.
The first thing that comes across in Mathilde’s character is the fact that she is a materialistic, superficial and conceited woman. Indeed, throughout the whole short story and especially at the very beginning, the author pictures her as if her appearance was the only thing that counts for her. She wants to be physically marvellous and seducing men is her only interest: “she would have given anything to be popular, attractive, and in demand”. This aspect of her personality is clearly enlightened during the party at the Ministry Buildings:
The day of the reception arrived. Mme. Loisel was a success. She was the prettiest woman there, elegant, graceful, radiant and wonderfully happy. All the men looked at her, enquired who she was, and asked to be introduced. All the cabinet secretaries wanted to waltz with her. She was even noticed by the Minister himself.
In this description of Mathilde, Maupassant, feigning just to describe her, obviously mocks and criticizes his character. Indeed, thanks to the use of words and...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document