The Last Romantic HeroIntroduction:In this paper, I would be analyzing the character of “Julien Sorel” from the novel “The Red and Black” by Stendhal. The paper would be revolving around specifically the life and the career of Julien Sorel and throughout the novel what was his character and what sight of a Romantic Hero did he created and what lessons do we get from his romantic life.
Julien Sorel’s Character:The character of Julien is a bit difficult and in the novel it is defined very clearly. Julien’s mother expired when he was very young. He is disrespected by his father and brothers (Stendhal, 2002, 18). He is focused towards his ambition in life. Since he lost his mother at a very early age, he does not understand the fact that he misses his mother so much that he mostly sees a mother in every woman. In the novel, he has a very dominating character; he wants to dominate the entire society but more importantly his main focus was to dominate a woman. Madame de Rênal is a motherly kind of woman; he plans out an unfeelingly seduction for her. But the author portrays it as Julien won Madame de Rênal wisely after seeing that he could not continue with his foolish trick and ends up with tears in her bedroom (Stendhal, 2002, 77).
This proves him as he is an honest person, at least for that time. Stendhal thinks this gesture as a necessity of love. For some of the time that Julien passes with Madame, his self-love changes into real love but suddenly his injured pride takes him back to his ambitions. Throughout the novel, the character of Julien revolves around two themes, love and the revolutionary spirit. Both the themes blend in a tragic spectacle, as his pain and anguish makes him a dangerous enemy to the society and even to the women, who loved him. His selected technique of insincerity gets him quick achievement, but it rejects him the option of full love.Next his affair with Mathilde, Stendhal ridicules the corrupt Parisian dignity of the reinstatement and, on the other, with the severity of a numerical expression; he drives Julien into the seduction (Stendhal, 2002, 253).
The affiliations present the incident to distinguish a determined and manipulative love to Madame de Rênal’s selfless loyalty. Due to the battle between the power and the revolutionary theme, Julein had to struggle to keep a control on his emotions under a constant check with Mathilde. He discovers the nature of true love, after comparing the devotions of Madame de Renal with the self-centered pride of Mathile. Finally he realized and gave up all his ambitions and the hypocrisy, he gets back to Madame de Renal, who eventually forgives him and returns his love. She even spent long hours in the jail with him (Stendhal, 2002, 10). The author calls this his perception of a person. Julien is peacefully contented in spite of his death sentence. His determination to control has been placed aside for superior goals; his hunt of contentment has been victorious.
If we see this side of Julien then surely the novel is a romantic narration. It expresses the acceptance of love as the supreme expression of life. In its responsive and understanding study of intentions and of emotion and reaction, it receives from the 18th century. It prefigures the come back of an emotional analysis in the work of fiction, a come back that differentiates France at the end of the 19th century, when The Red and the Black commenced originally to be esteemed. In the fragile irony of its appearance it is, nevertheless, Stendhal’s effort single-handed.The Case of Julien Sorel:As far as my observation goes in for the novel, it is obvious in many ways that Julien is a romantic character. He is a visionary, full of thinking of logic of the life he would like to go ahead, a life which does not relates to him in any situation.
As a result he goes out in setting such a life that is satisfying for him, through his imaginative gestures. He appears different than a lot of others in the culture around him, who come into view to be, in a much uninspired way, contented to chase the monotonous and fatally uninteresting existence described approximately to suffocation by the world surrounding them. Julien is deficient in a few very basic things.
There is no certain term that I can use of what he lacked in, to a certain extent, it was intelligence, which I mean a thinking, supporting, and touching discernment, the skill to visualize, to sense, and to feel one’s way throughout multifaceted state of affairs with a convinced simplicity. He has substantial ability of one kind and another; he has self-confidence and bravery, well-built thoughts, and an enormous transaction of fortune. All these qualities make him, indeed a special individual in the society where there is almost no imagination or guts. But the major opposition that I have against him is that he is extremely seldom a genuine human being, performing on his sincere approach impulsively and successfully.
And the chief cause for that is that he is in a few original ways a dull Romantic. And because of lack in this cleverness his each act is tremendously vague—connected with opposing reason, all types of uncertain self-expression, and steady hesitation.However, after going through the novel, I don’t actually admire his personality, instead I mostly feel sorry for him. He is born into a culture which we are asked to observe as imprison, bourgeois, self- helping and insignificant, and a civilization which has no space or position for an individual of strength, of compassion. So it is not difficult to recognize the potentials of Julien’s qualities and commiserating with his wish to live a more better and a meaningful life for himself. The very truth that he has such requirements and is ready to do something on them forces him, as I say, in some intelligence favorable to roughly each person around him.
And to that degree, I assume, we can have a high regard for a little in him: his approach concerning existence are adequately tough to be familiar with that incoming conservative life in Verrieres is to decide no genuine life at all. “Everything he saw there chilled his imagination” (Stendhal, 2002, 19). He should run away, and yet the humanity he is in presents minute options. The punishments for not complaining are far above the ground.However, from the very beginning, we can sense that the precedence in his life is very badly twisted. While his creative wish to survive a better life than any presented by society is comprehensible, it looks that Julien is reluctant to shape his own intellect of what he has to do: in its place he is departing to take more a hereditary dream: the accomplishments of Napoleon. Before he even starts for a new journey of life and identity for himself, we already come to know that he is not willing to work for it himself.
Then, also there’s the inconsistency of his outlook to humanity. For Julien is violently determined publicly. He has previously prepared up his brain that, contemptible as he locates his society, his objectives are to go up in that very civilization.
And in numerous values his concluding breakdown to attain, I would still stick to the idea; he locates himself in genuine objectives in the original position. The existence of himself that he positions concerning building for himself is found ahead a dense approval of how, in looking for self-corroboration throughout communal achievement, he is going relentlessly to turn out to be a incarcerated to a fake vision–the aspiration of being well-known and wealthy, rather than being his personal individual.Julien is a full of romance, desiring to be his own individual self, he gives way to the fake principles of wistful dreams of Napoleon and receiving on in posh society–all as a resources of recompensing for his irresistible intelligence of communal weakness.
That’s the chief cause that I can believe immense misfortune for him, because his surroundings were so challenging, and so far in a number of essential ways loathe him, since he had no idea about the clever side of grabbing what is at risk in creating a precious way of living.Because of all these qualities of Julien, the novel seems to be a bit complex than interesting; rather it seems an examination of romance and the spirit of loving some one in real life. Julien’s logic of what he wishes to turn into is not genuinely personally produced–it’s something he procures into, and it negotiates his efforts to accomplish an entirely Romantic way of life.If we look at the character of Julien in another way, we can also conclude that Julien had a lot of skills but a few talents. For example, he is an extremely accomplished individual with verbal communication and owes an excellent compact of his untimely societal accomplishment to his capability in Latin.
His command on Latin is mainly because of his memory; it was not because of the love for the language or any sort of feelings for what is contained in the Latin Vulgate Bible Julien’s has mechanical skills and has no feeling as to what people admire in him and exactly the same thing is true about his acting ability and the way he deceives people. There is very little or almost no joy in the minor victories he gains here and there mainly because he can do it all very well: he discovers that he can use his natural gifts to be able to achieve what he wants to. His little victories makes his realize his hatred for everyone around him, rather than joyfully acknowledging himself.This amounts to Julien having no great creative sense of self or what he wants to become or achieve. He is aware of what he does not want to be and everything that will enable him to avoid what is right at that time.
If his becoming a priest enables him to move forward, then he will become a priest, it doesn’t really matter if he does not have inner conviction of faith, tutoring young boys even though he detested the young boys in the beginning. In a society that one despises if he is able to move away from what he does not want.It’s not a surprise that Julien becomes a hypocrite; he does not care about what anyone else feels or thinks as it provides him with sufficient force to energize his life. So he conceals what he really feels inside and moves on with his business moving up the social ladder. He courageously forces social situations to his apparent advantage, combining it with his deceptive innocent appearance, enabling him to enjoy his minor victories which combined together lead to the seduction of Mme Renal and later to him improving his position in the Hotel de la Mole.The Compromises of an Uncertain Hero:Looking at the doubtful methods and conciliation dreams of self, it’s not a surprise that he ends up compromising himself as a servant to a society he detests after he finds out he has hurt someone greatly (Stendhal, 2002, 225). To amuse himself he switched an appointment misusing his authority at the Hotel de la Mole only to discover that thanks to him a destitute family will be without income. For a moment he is shocked with his injustice but he rationalizes it away.
He tells himself its nothing important and he will have to commit a lot more injustice in order to be successful and also he would have to conceal his real feelings under sentimental words.Although this is not that big an incident it makes us think about what will come of this young man who thinks so highly of himself and thinks he is different, above the compromises of the petty society, a radical spirit who kept Napoleon’s portrait under his bed. At this point we find out that Julien’s social aim is badly conciliating the sturdy logic of Romantic values he has. He has slight problem dealing with this, as he never could distinguish among being authentic and being triumphant in a compromising world.Moving ahead he even ends up being an integral part of a reactionary treason, in order to promote a counter revolution that would put the priest and aristocracy into full power, which was done in an attempt to undermine the work of his hero, Napoleon. Julien is completely aware of what is at stake, but he does not protest and completes the task at hand.
This being not just a Romantic discount for opinionated questions but also a treachery of all that Julien maintained not so long ago to have faith in. Thus, we can easily see that his one wish to turn into his own self has been taken over, the actual creative intellect that he had of life’s potential has been able to live up to his feeling of social inadequacy, his social ambition, and the happiness and satisfaction he derived from being a hypocrite.Conclusion:The way the novel ends has been read in a lot of different ways. Where some it as giving Julien the stature of a tragic hero whose did not want to compromise his nobel vision of himself and ended up losing his life. What I see the ending is totally different, mainly for the novel has room for different interpretations for in many different ways Julien’s character is rather elusive, especially towards the end. But a great deal of a reader’s view of Julien’s character as that of a nobel hero or a pathetic victim or something else is totally dependant of the extent to which one senses in him nobility of character (like that of a deifier of society or a sensitive lover) throughout, something closer to his real personality that the crass social ambition so prominent in his life.
The constant presence of irony is one major attribute of the novel that makes it hard to conclude Julien’s character, what has come to be called Romantic Irony.The novel is full of ironic moments either little or big. Just as we begin to sense that something good is developing Julien’s character, the emergence of something firm on which we can lay a favorable estimate of his character, doubts are created. For instance, each time Julien has a moment of victory, particularly when dealing with women, we swiftly discover that he is unsure regarding what has truly taken place; full of doubts and hesitations, the triumph loses its real value and is left as an event with little value and something that is really uncertain. Also the major purpose the speaker plays is providing a medium for ironic deflation. Red and Black is a very modern novel in that sense, and Julien is a hero of modern times, someone who deserves to live an authentic life but lack any sense what so ever of what an authentic life is and also does not have enough intelligence, self-confidence or emotional strength to create it, which is the main reason why the person inside him is plagued with constant doubts and the society in which he exists has long lost all notions of heroic conduct except for nostalgic memories of the Middle ages, which is incapable of constructing what he desires most. The radical ambiguity in his heart speaks of the radical instability in the modern character, that can no longer manifest heroic conduct, mainly due to self and socially imposed contradiction in the human situations.ReferencesStendhal.
2002. The Red and the Black: A Chronicle of 1830. Published by Penguin Classics