I was ambitious and I’m not going to
Repent of this; I then acted so,
As our time demands.
Stendhal. Red and black
The novel “Red and Black” was written by Stendhal in 1830. The protagonist of the novel is the gifted, beautiful and young son of the carpenter Julien Sorel.
A great influence on the world view, attitudes and aspirations of the young man was rendered by the old staff doctor, who took a significant part in the education of Julien and inspired him with infinite reverence for and admiration of Napoleon. The books left by the regimental physician after death and also related to the name of Napoleon, for a long time were the greatest treasure and main treasure for Julien, whose minds excited and excited the ideas of the revolution. Napoleon remained forever the idol, the teacher and inspirer of this extremely ambitious youth.
Dreaming of exploits and military glory, Julien Sorel was an energetic and observant young man and quickly realized that for him the most profitable profession, giving the opportunity to break out of the circle of despised people and to achieve success and a high position, could be the adoption of a priesthood in the future. Entering the seminary, the talented young man quickly attracted attention to himself by an extraordinary memory and a deep living mind. However, he himself discovered how much, even among people close to God, deceitful, envious, stupid and mean.
Self-affirming in everything, Julien even in love could not give vent to his feelings. And here he played a role more than he loved, shamelessly playing on the feelings and emotions of women, in order to once again achieve recognition of his own strength and exclusivity. Never and in no way inferior to anyone, Julien and with the sweet, gentle, upright mistress de Renal, and with equally proud and proud of himself, Matilda de La Mole almost always did as the prompting of the minute prompted him, becoming like a domineering, capricious and touchy child. The most terrible thing is that, deceiving and hurting even loved ones and close people, he almost always considered himself right.
Seeking to break out of the provinces, make a career, conquer the world, Julien Sorel hates the nobility and the bourgeoisie, believing that all the best in the world belongs to them, and a person of low birth and a poor has almost no opportunity to advance. But here Julien, thanks to his talent and giftedness, and also through his acquaintance with the bishop, finally appears to be a happy occasion, and he parted with Vierre and travels to Paris as the personal secretary of one of the richest and most influential nobles – the Marquis de La Mole. Because of the fear of losing this place, Julien in Paris had to infringe on his pride and self-esteem in many ways, but his flexible non-standard mind, his pride, unexpected for the commoner, did not go unnoticed. Over time, these qualities attracted the attention of the youth to Matilda de La Mole.
Anything that could make any other person happy and become the crown of his aspirations in Julien only intensified an already excessive ambition: “My romance eventually ended, and I owe it only to myself.” I managed to make myself fall in love with a monstrous pride “. Having received consent for marriage from the father of Matilda, who gave them huge lands, Julien dreams of a future son who must strengthen his position in the light or even in the country. Becoming the patron of the regiment on patronage, “he only thought about glory and about his son,” overwhelmed by ambition.
However, Ms. de Renal’s letter destroyed his present, destroying the future. As if losing his mind, Julien hurries to Verrieres and commits an attempt on the murder of his beloved woman, which destroyed his dreams, career, marriage.
And only before his death, having learned that Madame de Renal was alive, Julien Sorel cast aside her pride, her vanity, ambition, becoming herself. And at this time he confesses to Madame de Renal that he had never before been so happy.
In his novel, Stendhal wanted to show that it was the society, the inhuman state system that were guilty of the fact that a talented, intelligent young man chose not for himself a noble way of worthy service to the state and society, but a dark road of continuous self-affirmation. But it seems to me that a person should himself be responsible for those dishonest acts that he does, and Julien Sorel is not capable of this, because he turned into an early youth in a moral cripple.
Still, Stendhal in the novel “The Red and the Black” managed not only to study deeply the French social life of the end of the Restoration era, but also to delicately analyze typical for this period characters in all their complexity and variety.