The Theme of Pride in Guy Maupassant's The Necklace Essay

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Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall (Proverbs 16:18) - It would be difficult to find an aphorism that better describes the fate of the main character in Guy de Maupassant’s short story, “The Necklace”. Set in Paris in the late 1800s, Maupassant’s story shows the costs of pride. The main character, Madame Loisel, borrows a diamond necklace from her rich friend, Madame Forestier, to wear at a ball hosted by the Minister of Public Instruction at the Palace of the Ministry. To her dismay, Madame Loisel loses the necklace, and she and her husband spend the next ten years paying back the loans they had to take out to replace the necklace, only to discover that the necklace was fake. Her pride plunges both her and…show more content…
Monsieur Loisel, in contrast, is content with his place in life. He too is proud, but of what he has achieved, not what he desires to be. He does not yearn for dainty dinners but is satisfied with plain cooking: “... her husband, who uncovered the soup-tureen and declared with an enchanted air, ‘Ah, the good pot-au-feu! I dont know anything better than that.’” (Maupassant 1). Monsieur Loisel is happy and shows pride in the simple things in life. He is also proud when he receives the invitation to the ball and cannot understand his wife’s negative reaction to the invitation: “Instead of being delighted, as her husband hoped, she threw the invitation on the table with disdain…” (Maupassant 2). He sacrifices money he has saved to buy a gun so that his wife can buy a suitable dress, but she is still not happy. Madame Loisel’s pride demands more: “It annoys me not to have a single jewel, not a single stone, nothing to put on. I shall look like distress” (Maupassant 2). Ironically, it is Monsieur Loisel who suggests that his wife borrow jewelry from Madame Forestier, and subsequently has to spend the next ten years borrowing money to replace it. As May puts it, “Her husband exhausts his meager inheritance and then borrows the rest, mortgaging their life away to buy a replacement for the necklace” (May 7). Monsieur Loisel sacrifices everything to salvage his wife’s pride. The second literary
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