This is an example essay on character analysis of “The Necklace”:
Guy de Maupassant’ narrative of “The Necklace” is chilly and has a cruel irony effect. The suffering set forth in the story seems to have been needless, due to the fact of misunderstanding and petty pride in Mr. and Mrs. Loisel. The craftsmanship of the story had been masterfully manipulated to where the revelation was held until the very end of the story.
Characters in a story can be classified as “dynamic” or “static”. Dynamic characters are characters that change as the story progresses. That is, they recognize, change with, or adjust to circumstances. Static characters, which can also be described as “flat”, are characters that are not well developed and remain fairly unchanged throughout the story. Usually static characters have minor roles in a story (e.g. co-workers, friends, policeman, etc.).
Mathilde Loisel, the main character in “The Necklace” seems to be a very dynamic character, although some of her moods appear to stay with her longer than others. Many of the things she had imagined often were not considered by other women of her social rank, such as worn-out chairs, curtains, and boiled beef for dinner, tortured and filled her with despair. (3) Feeling as though she had once deserved to marry better, but was unable to obtain a well to do husband she settled for a marriage with a minor clerk in the Ministry of Education. She is described as to have suffered ceaselessly, according to her daily description of her lifestyle. She would often ease her suffering of being in a drab house by visiting with her rich friend, Mrs. Forrestier. Mrs. Loisel had often dwelt upon her fantasies of a more elaborate life. Her desire to be of a higher status and to possess nice valuable trinkets seemed to poison her very nature.
Mr. Loisel notice that his wife is not satisfied with her lifestyle. Seeing how she daydreams of living in luxury they cannot afford. He becomes excited as he carries an invitation to go too a formal dinner with the Ministry of Education. He had worked hard to get recognized for his efforts. Not too many clerks were invited to such an occasion. (6) Mrs. Loisel becomes upset because she has nothing elegant to wear for such an occasion. By forcing a few tears and sadly confronting her husband about her misfortunate state, she is able to convince him that she needs an expensive dress for a once in a lifetime event. Mrs. Loisel tells her husband she will need about 400 francs to purchase a dress worthy enough to get the attention of the other people at the dinner. The price was slightly more the he expected but gave her the money to purchase it from his next summer’s vacation fund. Continuing with the emotion of self-pity, she develops into a greedy individual. The dress is not enough on its own, she will need an elaborate necklace to draw attention to herself. Mathilde is able to obtain a rather lovely necklace from Mrs. Forrestier who has large amount jewelry.
The night of the party, Mrs. Loisel was prettier than anyone else, stylish, graceful, smiling, and wild with joy. (53) She enjoys the immense amount of attention she is receiving. Mrs. Loisel is so caught up in her own self-centeredness that she totally forgets about her husband. She cares for nothing, but the moment she is in. The party ends in the early morning hours and Mrs. Loisel wants to leave in a hurry. She wants the people she met at the party to remember her as was. She conceals her true identity because she is embarrassed for who she really is.
In the midst of a returning home after a grand evening she notices she has lost a costly possession…the necklace!! Mr. and Mrs. Loisel look through her dress, shawl, pockets, and retraced all their steps from the party. (65) They worried and fretted about the lost necklace offering a reward for its return.
They realize the inevitable situation they are in and have to replace the necklace. They went from jeweler to jeweler, searching for an indistinguishable replacement. (90) The replacement would cost 36,000 francs. Mr. Loisel had 18,000 francs left to him by his father. The other half would take three days to acquire from various loan companies and friends. Mrs. Loisel returns the necklace and does not tell Mrs. Forrestier that it’s not the same one that she borrowed.
Mrs. Loisel now has to work, along with her husband working late hours. She takes a job as a servant, cleaning house, washing dishes, and other heavy housework. (99) She rents out a servant’s quarter and learns what its like to be among the working class. During this time she becomes somewhat practical. Now she has experienced what is really like to be the wife of a clerk. The debt would take 10 years to pay back.
After the 10 years she finds Mrs. Forrestier walking with her child. She notices that she is youthful and attractive. Mrs. Forrestier hardly recognizes her and regards her as a lowly working class woman. (110) She tells Mrs. Forrestier that she has just finished paying off the necklace that she had borrowed for the dinner. Sadly, in the end after all she has put herself and her husband through, she finds out that it was really in vain. Mrs. Forrestier tells her if she had only told her years ago, she would have only paid about five hundred francs because it was only costume jewelry.