Stendhal Red and Black

1194 WordsNov 11, 20125 Pages
The great Napoleon Bonaparte once said, “Power is founded upon opinion.” In the wake of Napoleon’s rule, France was on the brink of chaos. The previously overthrown Bourbon family was restored to the throne, although France was nothing like it was when they had left. The church had lost most of its power, aristocrats no longer held dominance, and the once voiceless third estate was now a powerful adversary in the form of citizens with rights and demands. The monarchy no longer held the power to do as they pleased; they now had to answer to the voices of the people or face being overthrown for a second time. Contrary to their revolutionary predecessors, many new thinkers believed that France should simply forget the revolution and…show more content…
He views Mme. de Rênal as a sort of military conquest. Julien compares the seduction of Rênal’s wife to the glory and power of Napoleon’s military victories and pursues her vigorously. Moreover, he considers his actions to be a rebellious attack against the aristocracy. His actions are reminiscent of those during the revolution. Julien soon gains the opportunity to dress in military garb as part of the honor guard that welcomes the king. Julien’s pride swells over the thought that he is dressed as Napoleon once was. His pride is short lived due to the fact that he must change into church attire to assist in ceremonies. Julien soon meets the young Bishop of Agde. The extent of the Bishop’s power at such a young age causes Julien to rethink his strategies toward glory. He faces a struggle between the red of the military and the black of the church. His ruse of church service and the monarchal efforts to restore power to the church put him in a position to pursue his dream of Napoleonic glory via different channels. Julien soon faces a dilemma when M. de Rênal receives a letter revealing the affair between Julien and Mme. de Rênal. The two wittingly avoid any trouble by sending a second letter to Rênal stating that the initial letter was a ploy to disgrace him. The importance of public opinion is so great to the aristocratic Rênal that he believes the

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