The Downfall Of A Mythological Hero
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Mathilde Loisel, the hero of the short story The Necklace, is quite often used as an example of women`s greed. Her tragic downfall is found ridiculous and hilarious by many. It can be said that Mathilde weighing her fancies and fantasies more than her real life resulted in her downfall. However she faced it courageously. Her ignorance resulting in the downfall of her poor innocent husband is highly dramatic and creates a negative image of the protagonist in front of the audience. As a result, Mathilde Loisel, by all means, fits into the model of a mythological hero.
A mythological hero of any myth is always courageous no matter how hard the situation burdens him. Mathilde also possesses the same quality. When she realised the necklace was lost she didn`t cry or gave up her thought. She tried bravely to overcome her struggled mind. We can find the very same braveness from her part when she enters “the ghastly life of abject poverty” as defined by Maupassant (page 8). “From the very first she played her part heroically” says the author (Maupassant 8). All these acts of her can be considered courageous and compared to that of a mythological hero.
Mathilde dreams her life to be a fairy tale; she lives in another supernatural world. Her thought seem supernatural to others similar to that of a mythological hero. We can see her daydreaming throughout the story. The narrator explains: “She imagined silent antechambers, heavy with Oriental tapestries, lit by torches in lofty bronze sockets, with two tall footmen in knee-breeches sleeping in large arm-chairs, overcome by the heavy warmth of the stove. She imagined vast saloons hung with antique silks, exquisite pieces of furniture supporting priceless ornaments, and small, charming, perfumed rooms, created just for little parties of intimate friends, men who were famous and sought after, whose homage roused every other woman`s envious longings. ” (Maupassant) A reader might think that the hardship she experienced later in her life might have changed her mind and thoughts. But she never stopped dreaming Maupassant explains “But sometimes, when her husband was at the office, she sat down by the window and thought of that evening long ago, of the ball at which she had been so beautiful and so much admired.” (Maupassant 8)
Another character trait that Mathilde and a tragic hero shares is that their fate affects many including the innocent around them. And the one who is affected by Mathilde’s fate is her poor husband Mr. Loisel. Anybody who enters deep into core of the story can understand that Mr. Loisel’ s suffering starts at the very point he marries her. She never cared for him and never listened to him. Nevertheless he gave up his dream for years just so that she can buy a good dress. “Maupassant might have created Mr. Loisel in a way so that he shall be the innocent victim, for Mathilde herself, may not be innocent in other eyes.” (Douglas, 21). He didn`t want her wife to be sought less in front of others. He signed himself up for the long years of misery George-3- after replacing the necklace.
“He…appalled at the agonising face of the future, at the black misery to fall upon him…he went to get the new necklace.” says Maupassant. To summarize, all the characteristics of Mathilde Loisel can be compared with that of a mythological hero and proven to be identical. Her fairy like and superior life explains this. Her undefeatable courage like that of mythological hero explains this as well. Also her activities resulting in the suffering of her poor husband drives the audience innocent towards him while more and more hatred towards her. In the end one can always find that the hero leads into his on downfall. Mathilde Loisel, always giving priority to her dreams and her wishes, led by her greed, leaps to the heights, but trips down and falls down into the pit of poverty and suffering along