The Adventures of Gilles Blas of Santillana
“I was impressed by the amazing variety of adventures noted in the features of your face,” Gill Blasu once said to a casual counter-one of the many people with whom the hero brought fate and whose confession he was able to hear. Yes, the adventures that fell to the share of Gilles Blas of Santillana, really more than enough for a dozen lives. About these adventures and narrates the novel – in full accordance with its name. The story is from the first person – Gilles Blas himself tells the reader his thoughts, feelings and innermost hopes. And we can see from the inside how he is deprived of youthful illusions, grows up, manages in the most incredible trials, is mistaken, sees and repents, and finally acquires composure, wisdom and happiness.
Gilles Blas was the only son of a retired military man and servant. His parents were married after being no longer their first youth and soon after the birth of his son moved from Santillana to the equally small town of Oviedo. They had the most modest achievements, so the boy had to get a bad education. However, he was helped by a canon uncle and a local doctor. Gilles Blas was very capable. He learned to read and write perfectly, learned Latin and Greek, took a hint of logic and fell in love with the discussions even with unfamiliar passers-by. Thanks to this, at seventeen, he earned a reputation as a scientist in Oviedo.
When he was
So rapidly unfolding events from the very first pages and throughout the whole great novel. The whole “Gilles Blas” is an endless chain of adventure adventures falling to the lot of the hero – despite the fact that he himself does not seem to be looking for them. “I am destined to be a toy of fortune,” he will say about himself many years later. This is not so. Because Gilles Blas did not just obey the circumstances. He always remained active, thinking, bold, dexterous, resourceful. And most importantly, perhaps, quality – he was endowed with a moral sense and in his actions – albeit at times unconsciously – guided by him.
So, with a mortal risk he got out of the robber captivity – and did not just run himself, but also saved a beautiful noblewoman, also captured by thugs. At first he had to pretend that he was delighted with the life of robbery and dreamed of becoming a robber himself. Do not enter into the credibility of the bandits, the escape would not have been successful. But in return Gilles Blas receives gratitude and a generous reward from the saved marquise of Don Mencia. True, this wealth was temporarily delayed in the hands of Gilles Blas and was stolen by the next deceivers – Amvrosio and Raphael. And again he turns out to be without a penny in his pocket, in the face of uncertainty – albeit in an expensive velvet suit, made for money by the Marquises…
In the future, he is destined an endless succession of successes and troubles, elevations and falls, wealth and want. The only thing that no one can deprive him of is life experience, which is involuntarily accumulated and comprehended by the hero, and the feeling of the motherland, on which he travels in his wanderings. (This novel, written by a Frenchman, is permeated with music of Spanish names and geographical names.)
… After thinking, Gilles Blas decides not to go to Salamanca University, because he does not want to devote himself to a spiritual career. Further his adventures are entirely connected with the service or the search for a suitable place. Since the hero is handsome, literate, clever and agile, he finds work quite easily. But not a single owner, he does not stay long – and every time not through his own fault. As a result, he gets the opportunity for a variety of impressions and study of manners – as befits the nature of the genre of the picaresque novel.
By the way, Gilles Blas is really a rogue, or rather a charming slut who can pretend to be simple, and be seduced and cunning. Gradually, he defeats his childish trustfulness and does not let himself easily bustle himself, and sometimes even starts up himself in dubious enterprises. alas, the qualities of a rogue are necessary to him, raznochinetsu, a man without a clan and tribe, in order to survive in a big and harsh world. Often, his desires do not extend beyond that to have a warm shelter, every day there is plenty to work and to the best of his strength, and not to wear.
One of the works, which at first seemed to him the top of fortune, was with Dr. Sangrado. This self-righteous doctor knew only two things for all diseases – drinking plenty of water and bleeding. Without thinking for a long time, he taught Gilles Blas the wisdom and sent him to visit the sick more triumphantly. “It seems that there has never been so much funeral in Valladolid,” the hero praised his own practice. Only after many years, already in adulthood, Gilles Blas remembers this youthful dashing experience and is horrified by his own ignorance and arrogance.
Another sinecure turned out to be a hero in Madrid, where he settled down as a footman at a secular dandy who shamelessly burned life. This service boiled down to idleness and swagger, and the servant friends quickly dislodged provincial habits from Gilles Blas and taught him the art of chattering about nothing and looking at those around him haughtily. “From the former sensible and sedate young man, I turned into a noisy, frivolous, vulgar helicopter,” the hero admitted with horror. The matter ended in the fact that the owner fell in a duel – as meaningless as his whole life was.
After that Gilles Blas was welcomed by one of the friends of the late duelist – an actress. The hero plunged into a new environment, which at first enchanted him with bohemian brilliance, and then frightened him with empty vanity and outrageous revelry. Despite the comfortable and comfortable existence of a cheerful actress in the house, Gilles Blas once fled from wherever he looked. Reflecting on his various masters, he sadly admitted: “Some have envy, anger and avarice, others have turned away from shame… Enough, I do not want to live more among the seven deadly sins.”
So, in time eluding the temptations of unrighteous life, Gilles Blas escaped many dangerous temptations. He did not – although he could have been, by force of circumstances – neither a robber, a charlatan, nor a fraud, or a slacker. He managed to preserve his dignity and develop his business qualities, so in his prime he was close to his cherished dream – he got a secretary from the all-powerful first minister of the Duke of Lerma, gradually became his main confidant and gained access to the secret secrets of the Madrid court itself. It was here that the moral abyss opened before him, to which he almost stepped. It was here that the most sinister metamorphosis occurred in his personality…
“Before I get to the court,” he notes, “I was naturally compassionate and merciful, but human weaknesses evaporate there, and I became stale than stone.” I also recovered from sentimentality towards my friends and stopped feeling affection for them. ” At this time, Gilles Blas distanced himself from his old friend and countryman Fabricio, betrayed those who helped him in difficult times, and all gave himself to the greed. For huge bribes, he contributed to the searchers for warm places and honorary titles, and then shared his prey with the minister. A clever servant, Sipion, endlessly found new petitioners ready to offer money. With equal zeal and cynicism, the hero was engaged in pimping for crowned individuals and building his own well-being, looking for a brighter richer. To enlighten him helped prison, in which he one day turned out to be:
Miraculously surviving after a long day of fever, he imprisoned anew to comprehend his life and felt unfamiliar freedom earlier. Fortunately, Sipion did not abandon his master in trouble, but followed him into the fortress and then secured his release. The lord and servant became close friends and after they left the prison they settled in a small remote castle, which was presented to Gilles Blas by one of his old friends, Don Alfonso. Strictly judging himself for the past, the hero felt remorse for a long separation from his parents. He managed to visit Oviedo on the eve of his father’s death and arranged a rich funeral for him. Then he began to generously help his mother and uncle.
Gilles Blas was destined to survive the death of his young wife and newborn son, and then another serious illness. Desperation almost overwhelmed him, but Sipion managed to persuade a friend to return to Madrid and again serve at the court. There was a change of power – the mercenary Duke of Lerma was replaced by honest Minister Olivares. Gilles Blas, now indifferent to any palace temptations, managed to prove his need and feel satisfaction in the field of noble service to the fatherland.
We part with the hero when, after retiring from business and again getting married, he “leads a pleasant life in the circle of dear people.” To crown the bliss, the sky deigned to reward him with two children, whose upbringing promises to be the entertainment of his old age…