“The Red and the Black”, analysis of the novel by Frederic Stendhal

The Red and the Black, analysis and content

The life and historical foundations of the novel

The basis of life is a court case, the son of a blacksmith Antoine Berthe, who was executed for shooting his former mistress.

The historical foundation is the social life of France during the period of the Restoration

The conflict of the novel is a clash of personality and society.

The main character – the son of a blacksmith, Julien Sorel, wants to get to the top of society and face a choice: to remain a romantic, honest, but poor person and live his whole life without glory, or to adapt, make friends, use others to make a career at the cost of a ruined soul. Throughout the novel, we seem to be observing the line of his life.

Julien Sorel was very fragile, even somewhat effeminate. The main character traits were: silence, romance, pride, ambition. In the family, relations were bad, they treated him like a geek, because he was significantly different from his whole family, not only in appearance, but also in character. The main goal of Sorel’s life was to get to the cream of society under any circumstances, and for this he began to study. He was engaged in teaching in the house of D’Renal, he taught Latin and the Gospel.

The Red and the Black

Julien had a hard time at D’Renal’s house. He disdained the master of the house because he considered him a rich, stupid, smug aristocrat. That is why Julien is constantly trying at the slightest opportunity to offend the pride of the owner and show his superiority over him. The young man is annoyed that Monsieur D’Renal treats him like a servant and Julien tries to achieve the love of the mistress of the house, not so much for love itself, but for revenge and ambition. But he did not immediately realize that he himself fell in love with Ms. D’Renal. Julien leaves D’Renal’s house because of the conflict caused by his love for the mistress. The young man leaves for Besancon to go to seminary there.

Julien Sorel was smart and diligent, but he did not immediately realize that the seminary did not welcome reasoning and common sense. He needed to show only blind faith and a passion for money, but not knowledge. Precisely because he was a thinking and logical person, Sorel was different from other seminarians, and it was for this that his comrades did not like him.

Abbot Pirard, despite his life principles, became very attached to Julien, but tried not to show it, because it would bring Sorel only problems.

The priest’s career did not match either Julien’s dreams or vocation. He dreamed of becoming a military man and performing heroic deeds, but at that time only aristocrats could get into the army and in order to achieve high society Julien was forced to become a priest, although his being resisted this.

The fact that Julien was an honest man and an interesting conversationalist, kind to everyone, but not allowing himself to be humiliated, really helped him to get a good place in the house of Mr. de La Molle. First, de’La’s daughter Mola Matilda treated Julien as a toy with which she wanted to dispel boredom. She was very proud and narcissistic special, at first she simply scoffed at Julien. In the end, Sorel was tired of it and he began to answer her the same. This pride and self-esteem did not leave Matilda indifferent – she fell in love without memory.

The Marquis de’ La Mol did not really like that his daughter had a relationship with a commoner, he was ashamed of the honor of his daughter, it was a shock to him.

Soon Matilda wanted to marry Julien, and this was not part of the Marquis’s plans, but the girl was very persistent, and de’La Molle had to help Sorel get the title and title. When it became clear that Matilda finally decided to marry Sorel, the Marquis de’ La Molle decided to inquire about him from his acquaintances aristocrats, because Julien was from ordinary people and little was known about him.

Madame De’Renal was very fond of Julien, and naturally got angry that he abandoned her and decided to marry another, she understood that this was a marriage of convenience, only to get into aristocrats. Ms. De’Renal realized that just like Matilda, she was just a tool for Sorel on his way to the top of society. She gave him very bad recommendations. She wrote to the Marquis that Julien uses women, and thereby put an end to Sorel’s life and his future.

The Red and the Black

Julien Sorel tried hard to achieve his goal, but the woman who swore to him eternal love, betrayed him, with one line crossed out all his efforts and intrigues. He was furious, he was simply destroyed. This was the main reason for the shot.

In prison, Sorel began to repent, he realized that in vain he had lost his life and abilities. That the only woman he loved was Ms. De’Renal and that he had never cheated on her. In his last word, Sorel once again challenged the aristocrats and the society they created. He remained his way to the end and did not let himself be broken.

This entry was posted in Frederic Stendhal. Bookmark the permalink.