Stendhal's Novel, An Inspector Calls

Decent Essays
The dazzling doors of glory and distinction finally appear to open for Julien Sorel when he is engaged to Mathilde de la Mole, the daughter of the Marquis. However, “all is lost” when Julien’s former lover, Madame de Rênal, pens a letter to the Marquis, accusing Julien of being a swindling seducer of naïve women in attempts to elevate his social status. Julien reads this letter, returns to Verrières, and proceeds to shoot Mme de Rênal. This drastic act destroys Julien’s rise from the son of a carpenter to a respected lieutenant and leaves him in a cell with only his thoughts to keep him company. The abruptness and unexpected nature of his actions, his musings in the cell, and the lack of consistency in his passions indicate that Julien’s true wish is to be freed of an unjust society built upon fakery. Toward the end of the novel, it is revealed who Julien…show more content…
In earlier sections, Stendhal chooses to detail Julien’s inner torment. When Julien is anguished by his inability think clearly after Mme de Rênal speaks to him harshly, he proceeds to “throw himself at her feet and embrace her knees…he melted into tears” (96). Similarly, when Mathilde expresses her regret as to the consummation of their affair, Julien, he is left helpless and his anguish is described in detail. When he is helpless in the matter of Mme de Rênal, Julien behaves sincerely, and his willingness to reveal a sense of weakness in front of Mme de Rênal allows him to win over her heart. When he is helpless in the matter of Mathilde, he pretends to pursue another woman with whom Mathilde is acquainted, indulging in fakery, yet still winning the girl’s heart. However, when he attempts to murder Mme de Rênal, Stendhal offers to the reader no insight as to what Julien is thinking, aside from his statement that he cannot blame the Marquis for refusing to allow him to marry his
Get Access