How does Mathilde portray hubris in "The Necklace"?

Expert Answers
litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Mathilde portrays hubris because she believes she should live like an aristocrat even though she is just the wife of a clerk.

Hubris is defined as “exaggerated pride or self-confidence” (Merriam-Webster).  Mathilde wants a better life, but she just assumes she deserves one.

Mathilde suffered ceaselessly, feeling herself born to enjoy all delicacies and all luxuries. (p. 1)

But Mathilde was not born into a high family.  She was born into a “family of clerks,” yet “she was unhappy as if she had really fallen from a higher station” (p. 1).  She was therefore never happy with her life. 

Mathilde’s husband tries to do the best he can, and even when he goes out of his way to get a ticket to a fancy ball, it only brings her more misery.

Instead of being delighted, as her husband had hoped, she threw the invitation on the table crossly… (p. 1)

Even when Mathilde gets something, she is not grateful for it.  She has too much pride.  She wants to go to the ball in a nice dress and jewels, or not at all.

Another example of Mathilde’s hubris is her reaction to losing the necklace.  Instead of admitting it and asking for forgiveness, she lies and tries to replace it.  Therefore her hubris is her downfall.  She loses the one wealth she has—her youth and good looks.