Image of the destructive power of money in the story of Balzac “Gobsek”

Image of the destructive power of money in the story of Balzac “Gobsek”

Gold! Streams of gold. To implement our

Whims, you need time, you need material

Opportunities or efforts. Well!

In gold everything is contained in the bud, and it all gives

In fact.

O. Balzac

From 1830 to 1848, Balzac created three versions of the novel, gradually tightening up the image of the protagonist – the usurer Gobsek, whose surname is not accidentally translated as a “gingerbread man.” The moneylender is a typical figure for the era of the heyday of capitalist society, when a trader needs to seize a large sum to not miss a profitable deal, when a burnt-out aristocrat is ready to lay family jewelry, just to live in the usual luxury for which he already lacks the means.

Gobsek is a vivid example of how greed can ruin

human life. In his youth, he sailed a boat on a ship, visited India and America, was exposed to dangers, sought treasure, fought, cobbled and lost fortune several times and eventually ended up in Paris, where he lived modestly in a squalid room, like a monastic cell. But from this cell he, like tentacles, reached out to the most fashionable mansions of Paris. All his life was subordinated to the only goal – the accumulation of money. Gold was for Gobsec symbol of power over others. He did not just take off and ruin, no, he gazed intently into the lives of others, soberly appreciating not only wallets, but also souls. Tired cynicism was combined in the nature of Gobsek with impeccable honesty. The moneylender is a delicate psychologist who correctly and accurately judges people. Here are his remarks about the Count de Resto, deceived and almost ruined husband of the beautiful Countess: “The Count is at death, his soul is tender, such people do not know how to cope with grief, and it kills them.” Gobsek is able to touch the crucifix over the maiden bed of Fanny Malvo, he does not remain indifferent to the bright charm of the countess, and at the same time the old man is ruthless and scrupulous in money matters. Even to the detective Dervil, who used his location, Gobsek lends only at interest, explaining this in a very
peculiar way: “My son, I saved you from gratitude, I gave you the right to believe that you owe me nothing and therefore we are the best in the world of friends. ” Eventually, his stinginess becomes manic: after the death of the old man, Dervil finds in the next room rotting mountains of food, covered with mold, stale goods, with which Gobsek was unable to part.

No less than Hobsak, those characters who at first seem to be victims of a moneylender suffer from the power of money. In fact, the Countess de Resto, ready for anything for her lover, and the brilliant secular lion Marquis de Tray, who uses her weakness and makes him pay debts, people are more dishonorable than father Gobsec. The Countess not only ruins her children, she is ready for any blasphemy to destroy the will, which, it seems to her, condemns her to poverty.

But these are not the only ones. The novel begins in the mansion of the Viscountess de Grandlieu, whose daughter is in love with the eldest son of the Countess de Resto. The scandalous reputation of the countess makes marriage impossible between them. But the solicitor Dervil tells the story of the life and death of Hobsak, who managed to save and increase the state of the deceased count. Now Erast de Resto is a rich heir. And this dramatically changes the attitude of the viscountess to him. She is not interested in the mind and soul of a young man, since he is rich. And now you can reconcile with his mother: money and the old coat of arms will replace virtue. This is perfectly understood by Derville, who, although an integral part of the bustling business world, has retained the responsiveness and desire to help people.

This is the origin of human studies of Balzac: he does not extol anyone, and does not brand anyone definitively. Severely he judges only the foundations of bourgeois society, where the power of money entails crime and vice.


Image of the destructive power of money in the story of Balzac “Gobsek”