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Old Milon’s Cleverness

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Guy De Maupassant, author of “Old Milon”, composes a short story, set during the Franco-Prussian War, in which Milon portrayed as a stupid, old peasant attempts to obtain his vengeance on the raiding Prussian opponents, objectively demonstrating his most distinguishable characteristic — cleverness. Permitting his ultimate rivals, the Prussian soldier, to inhabit his home as a headquarters, reveals his cunning through masking his hatred for the Prussians, by acting like a thoughtless, amicable civilian. Likewise, Old Milon’s diabolical plan was to permit the combatants to vacation at his barn, while he “quartered them to the best of his ability,” (1) subsequently gaining their trust, so he could not be accused of committing the crime. After obligating his first murder; Milon takes the lifeless corpus’ uniform, allowing him to camouflage himself by flaunting his cunning scheme. Furthermore, he begins by putting on the Prussian solider uniform and shouts, “Hilfe, hilfe!”, and once he wins the other fleeting troopers’ attention; Milon kills them on the spot, having no mercy.

When the soldiers stop to help him, they consider it is just another abandoned helpless guy in need, nevertheless they do not recognize their life in jeopardy, because Milion remains so ingenious that he concealed up his stratagem. Lastly, Old Milon confesses to all his crimes, knowing he was going to die either, from old age or since he was condemned to death, his cunning allows him to succeed his key objective; revenge. Furthermore, he deliberately gets himself killed, which was clever on his part because he already completed his retribution on the Prussian militias, for his father and sons’ death, saying “Eight for my father, eight for the boys–we are quits.”(5) acknowledging that they are even now, and that his payback is complete. Yet at this point, he does not worry whether or not he survives, so he does not bother to shield himself, and just willingly confesses to the assumptions. Reasoning in a clever approach allowed Old Milon to give up, and become lackadaisical of his actions to eventually be free of his grief, which eventually lead to his demise.

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