Volume : 4, Issue : 4, AUG 2020

AMBITION AND THE BARRENNESS OF FATE IN STENDHAL’S THE RED AND THE BLACK

Abhay Kumar Mishra

Abstract

The most ambitious novel by Stendhal The Red And The Black illuminates the theme of ambition and its paradox in the historical background of 1830. Julien Sorel, a young peasant-boy dreaming of Napoleonic heights, follows the pursuit of the social-climbing and his first strides in this pursuit are anchored in his tender bondage to Madame de Rênal. Madame de Rênal adores his generosity, humanity, nobility, and she is beguiled by his feminine features as she repulses chauvinistic masculinity of her own husband. Before Julien’s second intimacy develops with Mathilde, during his short stay at the seminary in Besanҫon, his pride in himself is kindled by his increasing conviction in his assiduity and intelligence. Mathilde is appealed by the pride, intelligence and hard-work impersonated in Julien. She rejoices dreaming of the great fortunes awaiting him. When Julien is on his way to sign-up as the lieutenant, he has to return per dictate of the circumstances to Mathilde, and having read a judgment of himself by Madame de Rênal as a greedy, poor hypocrite, he is driven to the fury of shooting Madame de Rênal. Madame de Rênal, nostalgic of her love to Julien and in essence convinced of the pristine nobility of Julien, makes a final appeal in the court to rescue Julien. Her appeal is falls on deaf ears and Julien is sentenced to death.

Keywords

Ambition, Social-Climbing, Pride, Class-Interest.

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