Greed In 'The Necklace' By Guy De Maupassant

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Some people know of the seven sins and seven virtues, greed being one of them, and the story “The Necklace” by Guy De Maupassant, perfectly demonstrates greed. In the story, the main character Mathilde desires and envies others possessions. She is very unhappy with the life she was living and constantly thought of what she deserves. Later on, it is learned of how deceptive something can be when Mathilde herself was deceived by society itself. Mathilde seeks what others possess and goes to lengths to acquire them but she discovers more than what she saw in her fantasies. Mathilde was a very greedy person, envied others, and deceptive and was also deceived. While living her “middle class” lifestyle, Mathilde was very unhappy, she was constantly pondering about the life she has and the life she deserves. She was from a bourgeois family, but Mathilde believed she should live an affluent life. In the story, it says “ She grieved incessantly, feeling that she had been born for all the little niceties and luxuries of living. She grieved over the shabbiness of her apartment, the dinginess of the walls, the worn-out appearance of the chairs, the ugliness of the draperies. All these things, which another women of her class would not even have noticed, gnawed at her and made her furious.”(Maupassant 224). This is a representation of how horrendous Mathilde thinks her life is.

Mathilde had longed after what other women had, she had envied those who had a better lifestyle than her own. Mathilde would always daydream about the life she thought she deserved, thinking about all she could have. For instance, the story tells us, “She had no evening clothes, no jewels, nothing. But those were things she wanted; she felt that was the kind of life for her. She so much longed to please, be envied, be fascinating and sought after.” (Maupassant 226). When her husband, who was a clerk, landed her an invitation to an evening reception, Mathilde was not as happy as he expected. Many other women would be happy, but Mathilde was not. Mathilde was more than upset and complained about not being able to go considering she did not have a dress to wear or any jewels to pair along with it. Her husband gave her money to buy and told her to borrow a jewels from her friend, which she then lost.To Mathilde’s understandings, the high class society has a high prestige and they would never do or have anything that would hurt their reputation. She resolute in whatever the high class society said was true but in the end she suffering heavily. In the words of Maupassant, “Her husband labored evenings to balance a tradesman’s accounts, and at night, he copied documents at five sous a page. And this went on for ten years….‘I bought you another just like it. And we’ve been paying for it for ten years now. You can imagine that wasn’t easy for us who had nothing. Well, it’s over now, and I am glad of it.’...‘Oh, my poor Mathilde. But mine was only paste. Why at most it was worth only five hundred francs!’” (233).

One should not put their trust into something just because it appears to be real. In conclusion, wanting too much can lead to misfortune and suffering. Mathilde was unhappy with her current lifestyle and wanted to change it. She wanted what belonged to others as well as she believed she deserved just as much. She believed in the outer appearance of everything and she could never have thought of believing in anything else, but what truly matters is invisible to the eyes. In the end, due to all of these points adding up, when she received and lost the necklace from and upper class woman, she ended up spending 10 years paying back for a lie society made her believe in.

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